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New report on Afghan war blames both Trump and Biden for disastrous withdrawal

New report on Afghan war blames both Trump and Biden for disastrous withdrawal

The Biden administration has conducted a review of the State Department’s performance during the turbulent evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies and has concluded that former President Donald Trump also shares the blame.

The review holds both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden accountable for their respective actions before and after the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul in August 2021, during which approximately 124,000 Afghans were evacuated

In response, Republicans have criticized President Biden for failing to acknowledge the intelligence failures that led to the Taliban takeover of the country and the chaotic scenes witnessed at Kabul airport, where a suicide bomber resulted in the deaths of 13 American soldiers and about 170 Afghans.

When asked about US mistakes before and during the withdrawal, President Biden remained defiant in his response.

“Remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said al-Qaeda wasn’t going to be there,” Biden said. “I said we would get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s happening? Read your press. I was right.”

In July 2022, the United States carried out a drone strike that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri at his residence in Kabul. That action was part of the Biden administration’s “over the horizon” ability to target the group after the withdrawal. However, a United Nations monitoring team reported in May that al-Qaida still considers Afghanistan a safe haven and that the Taliban have not fulfilled their previous commitments to fight terrorism.

“Al Qaeda maintains a low profile, focusing on using the country as an ideological and logistical hub to mobilize and recruit new fighters while covertly rebuilding its external operations capability,” the monitors said in their report. .

The report released Friday reveals that in July and early August 2021, a State Department task force successfully assisted in the evacuation of nearly 2,000 Afghan nationals who were eligible for processing a special US visa program. This evacuation took place ahead of the August 31, 2021 deadline set by the United States for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

However, the report highlights that the State Department failed to establish a broader task force as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated. This lack of preparation and response is identified as a major shortcoming.

Additionally, during the planning phase of the evacuation of US civilians and Afghan allies, the report notes a lack of clarity regarding leadership within the Department. He claims it was unclear who had the primary role in coordinating the efforts.

“Decisions by both President Trump and President Biden to end the US military mission in Afghanistan had serious consequences for the viability of the Afghan government and its security,” the review said. “Those decisions are outside the scope of this review, but the (review) team found that during both administrations there was not enough senior-level consideration of worst-case scenarios and how quickly they could be pursued.”

Overall, the report highlights the State Department’s failure to establish a comprehensive task force and provide clear leadership during the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

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