A new report released by Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has alleged the Biden administration held back from making critical decisions on how to evacuate civilians from Kabul until a few hours before the Taliban seized control of the city.
Biden has previously accepted that after a messy withdrawal from Kabul that both he and his administration had failed to appreciate how quickly Kabul would fall, but he went onto say that “we planned for every contingency.” The 100-page report alleges that the withdrawal was more costly than necessary due to the delays in decision making.
In a prepared statement made to Axios, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson alleged the report was “riddled with inaccurate characterizations, cherry-picked information, and false claims.”
Watson also noted that the report was carried out by a Republican minority and its sole purpose was to pinpoint only Biden’s failure in the withdrawal.
The report alleges that the U.S. military was ordered to commence planning a civilian evacuation operation in April, four days before Biden announced the unconditional withdrawal. The report also states that a brainstorming session was done, which was attended by senior officials, where they discussed the many different scenarios that might play out.
Brig. Gen. Farrell J. Sullivan, who was one of the generals involved in the withdrawal, told Army investigators “there seemed to be a disconnect between what we were seeing on the ground and the urgency [State Department officials] were displaying.” That lack of urgency would be a continual frustration among military leaders, the report alleges.
Watson rejected these claims and stated that “We did extensive contingency planning throughout the spring and summer of 2021 and pre-positioned troops in the region, which enabled us to facilitate the evacuation of more than 120,000 people.”
Axios reported that Biden laid the blame on the Afghan government for them not starting the evacuations sooner, Biden said this was down to a “crisis of confidence.”
The White House statement also notes low morale amongst Afghan troops, and the shortened timeline to withdraw U.S. forces, on the deal former President Donald Trump made with the Taliban during his time in office.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO
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