'waited too long'
During a classified briefing on Tuesday, Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley "directly blamed" the State Department for the United States' bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, reports Axios, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
Milley reportedly told lawmakers that State officials "waited too long" to order the evacuation operation out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Such private comments were "far more blunt" than the general's public testimony, in which he said the issue of the order's timing is an "open question that needs further exploration," per Axios.
The two days of testimony from Milley and other defense officials "underscore the finger-pointing and deep divisions between the State Department and the Pentagon," and "could renew scrutiny into Secretary of State Antony Blinken's performance" during the withdrawal, Axios writes. Blinken has already testified in front of Congress.
A third source, however, argued to Axios that the general "wasn't blaming anybody per se, but was speaking from a purely military perspective. The quicker we moved out non-combatants, the safer they would be." Read more at Axios.