Retired commander of 101st Airborne Division speaks of mistakes that led to chaos in Afghanistan

"The handwriting began when we decided to actually negotiate with the Taliban," said Former Major General Jeff Schloesser.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
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"The handwriting began when we decided to actually negotiate with the Taliban," said Jeff Schloesser, the former commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The former commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division says what is happening in Afghanistan is a result of a number of missteps that were made early on.

"The handwriting began when we decided to actually negotiate with the Taliban. I mean, this is a group of liars; they're much more sophisticated than they were 20 years ago, but they are still a group of liars," said Major General Jeff Schloesser (US Army Ret.)

Schloesser, who wrote the book "Marathon War: Leadership in Combat in Afghanistan," says when the U.S. announced in April that it was leaving, it was like a death knell.

"It took all of the backbone out of the Afghan army, as well as the Afghan government, which the government is clearly not ready for this," said Schloesser.

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Some 6,000 to 9,000 U.S. Troops will be in Kabul within another day or so to evacuate, not just Americans still trapped there, but the many Afghans who helped Americans and their allies in their mission.

"It's going to be an incredible challenge because the number is going to be about 40,000 translators, probably an equal amount of family members," said the commander.

He now worries that the Taliban will soon welcome Al-Qaeda back in making America and its allies less safe.

"Their goal is to attack the United States and our allies and our people that are scattered around the world, and we should expect that," said Schloesser.

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He says America and its allies will have to move fast in their humanitarian effort to evacuate as many as possible. He worries about what may be in store as the 20th anniversary of 9-11 approaches.

"The Taliban are gonna eventually want to take control, I would say by 9-11, because that is going to be a big event. They're gonna stick it in our face. And by 9-11, they are going to want the U.S. lock, stock, and barrel out of that country," he said.

Schloesser commanded the 101st Airborne Division for 15 months during some of the toughest days of America's long war in Afghanistan. He says intelligence gathering will now be crucial in keeping track of what he expects will be threats of transnational acts of terror unless the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are kept in check.