The Biden administration is “failing” a key goal of its military withdrawal from Afghanistan, a government watchdog has reported as President Joe Biden’s administration deflects blame for how the deadly operation unfolded.
A new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, released Wednesday, said the U.S. “has left most of its allies behind” in the withdrawal, breaking a promise from Biden and creating a “high-risk” situation.
The risk, the report states, is that leaving Afghan allies behind under Taliban control will cause “allies around the world to question U.S. credibility.”
The report notes that prior to the withdrawal, Biden promised to U.S. allies in Afghanistan: “There is a home for you in the United States if you so choose, and we will stand with you, just as you stood with us.”
The report’s assessment comes two weeks after the Biden administration released its own review of the August 2021 withdrawal. The review accused President Donald Trump’s administration of failing to plan for the operation, and touted “the successful evacuation of over 124,000 American citizens, permanent residents, Afghan partners, and allies.”
The inspector general’s new report estimates that at the current pace, it will take 31 years to relocate and resettle all Afghan refugees who applied for special immigration visas. The special visas were created for Afghans who worked on behalf of the U.S. government for at least a year.
About 175,000 Afghans are still awaiting processing on their applications for special visas or refugee status, according to the report, which blamed “chronic understaffing” and “reliance on antiquated IT systems.”
The situation is one of five “high-risk” problems with ongoing Afghanistan reconstruction identified in the report. The others are:
- Taliban interference with the UN and NGOs
- Reliance on trust funds and multilateral organizations
- Loss of oversight of U.S. assistance
- Handling of frozen Afghan central bank assets