Last week, the Biden administration released its 12-page review of the disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The report’s findings assert that U.S. officials should have started the evacuation sooner and placed considerable blame for the chaotic evacuation on former President Donald Trump.
The claim that US officials should have started the evacuations sooner is a reversal of the administration’s previous position that an earlier withdrawal would not have prevented the chaos at the airport and an even further reversal on the labeling of the withdrawal as a “success.”
During the disastrous and chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, an Islamic State suicide bomber killed 13 American troops and upwards of 170 Afghan civilians. People also clung to departing airplanes during the event in hopeless attempts to escape the inevitable Taliban government takeover.
“Clearly we didn’t get things right here with Afghanistan with how fast the Taliban was moving across the country,” White House spokesman John Kirby said while taking questions on the Biden administration’s review.
According to the report, the government has now officially changed its policies regarding conducting earlier evacuations and withdrawals when security conditions have worsened. The U.S. also had only 2,500 troops in Afghanistan at the time of the withdrawal, down from 10,000 in the previous administration and outnumbered by the Taliban fighters.
According to Kirby, Trump’s decision to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and not share transition materials with the current administration were largely to blame for the disaster.
“It was a general sense of degradation and neglect there that the president inherited,” Kirby said. “And do not underestimate the effect that Doha agreement had on the morale and the willingness to fight on the Afghan National Security defense forces.”
“It had a very corrosive effect on their willingness to continue to fight for their country,” Kirby continued. “Now, we didn’t see that. We didn’t see that, and part of the reason we didn’t see that is because we couldn’t see the plans.”
A spokesperson for Trump’s re-election campaign said that the Biden Administration was “trying to gaslight the American people for their disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan that directly led to American deaths and emboldened the terrorists.”
“The world has become a more dangerous place under Joe Biden,” the spokesperson added.
President Joe Biden initially hailed the withdrawal as an “extraordinary success” and continues to downplay the severity of the chaos.
“For all this talk of chaos, I just didn’t see it,” Kirby said. “This document isn’t about accountability. It’s about understanding.”
When asked if President Biden took any responsibility for the disastrous withdrawal, Kirby commented, “He’s the commander in chief, and he absolutely has responsibility for the operations our men and women conduct and the orders that they receive.”