Retired SEAL’s video on Afghanistan goes viral amid withdrawal

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Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink

A retired Navy SEAL has gone viral after posting a video to Instagram in which he pretends to be the president of the United States giving a national address on the situation in Afghanistan — taking the blame for the chaos and “critical errors” made in the withdrawal process and offering his solution for how to extract stranded Americans. 

Jocko Willink uploaded the three and a half minute video to the social media site on Monday night with the caption, “If I were president, and I had put our country into the current situation in Afghanistan, I would tell America, our allies, our enemies, and the world, something like this…” 

“Good evening, I wanted to give you an update on the current situation in Afghanistan. As you know, we were set to leave Afghanistan this month and as we began the final draw down, I made some critical errors,” Willink said in the black and white video. 

He continued by saying he “overestimated” the strength of the Afghan forces while “underestimating” the strength of the Taliban. 

Willink’s video comes just over a week after the capital city of Afghanistan, Kabul, fell to Taliban forces in a lightening offensive, paving the way for the militant group to take over the country. The war-torn country has seen thousands attempting to flee since. 

Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink released a video explaining what he would do if he were president amid the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Instagram

Willnik emphasized that “this” was his mistake, adding that “tens of thousands of Americans” and allies remain on the ground “stranded.” 

Throughout the video, Willnik detailed the steps he would take to resolve the conflict and rescue the American citizens and allies, including swift rescue missions and recovering or destroying military equipment left behind.

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“In the next 48 hours, America will be in control of most major airports in Afghanistan,” he said. “Any resistance we meet from the Taliban or otherwise — when we seize these airports — will be destroyed completely and without mercy.”

“Anyone who interferes with these operations will be killed,” he added.

US troops helping Afghan families evacuate the country at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 24, 2021.
US troops helping Afghan families evacuate the country at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 24, 2021.
Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine/Planet Pix via ZUMA Press Wire

Willnik explained that after those steps, the United States would continue to monitor Afghanistan particularly for terrorist activity or human rights violations, offering support until the enemy “is no longer a threat to humanity or the good people of Afghanistan.”  

“May god bless America, and may god have mercy on the souls of our enemies, because we will not,” he said at the end of the video. 

As the US is nearing the Aug. 31 deadline for the full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration has faced bipartisan backlash for their initial response and failure to provide information on Americans being evacuated. 

On Monday, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby was slammed for being “deliberately vague” when talking about how many Americans have been evacuated, only saying that there have been “thousands.” 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has been criticized for not providing the exact number of Americans who have been evacuated so far from Afghanistan.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has been criticized for not providing the exact number of Americans who have been evacuated so far from Afghanistan.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

National security adviser Jake Sullivan defended the vague language during a later White House press conference, explaining that not all Americans in the country registered or deregistered when they left making it hard to present an accurate number. 

Since Aug. 14, over 58,700 people have been flown out of Afghanistan, according to the White House. It is unknown how many Americans are still in the country.

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