A new watchdog report from The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction offered a blistering critique of Biden’s abandonment of Afghanistan. Despite 20 years of American help,” The Washington Post writes, summarizing the findings, “the Afghans weren’t ready (and might never have been), and the Taliban made big inroads after Trump and the Islamist militia struck the so-called Doha Agreement that set a U.S. withdrawal timeline. Then Biden — a longtime advocate for leaving, no matter what — slightly extended the deadline but ultimately quit the country.”
While Biden clearly botched the execution of leaving the country, the inspector did not leave Trump unscathed.
The New York Post reports that “the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found the withdrawal announced by President Biden in April of that year “destroyed the morale of Afghan soldiers and police” who had “long relied on the US military’s presence” for their own protection — as well as to ensure the Kabul government paid their salaries.
Watchdog John F. Sopko also faulted the 2020 Doha Agreement reached between the Trump administration and the Taliban for instilling “a sense of abandonment” in both the Afghan forces and public at large.
“The US-Taliban agreement gave the Taliban its core demand: the complete withdrawal of US and coalition troops, as well as contractors,” the report stated. “The Afghan government, a nonsignatory to the agreement, was excluded from negotiations, legitimating the Taliban on the world stage and further undercutting the Afghan government’s credibility, which many Afghans already viewed as illegitimate.”
Meanwhile, the Western-backed Kabul government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, believed the US would not complete its pullout until an all-Afghan peace deal had been agreed. According to SIGAR, Ghani “read the [Doha] agreement as the conditions-based peace deal it purported to be, not the calendar-based withdrawal deal that it had become.”
The report will only fuel more calls for investigations into Biden’s incompetence by House Republicans. The Associated Press noted that “several Biden Cabinet members, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, received a letter Friday from House Republicans as they launched the second investigation into the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
I heard firsthand from our allies in the Middle East that when America is weak, Iran is emboldened and that puts everyone’s security at risk.
There’s still plenty to learn about the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, but we do know the buck stops at President Biden’s desk. pic.twitter.com/xWOnuwlEKY
— Senator Pete Ricketts (@SenatorRicketts) February 28, 2023
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, sent a series of letters to senior leadership at the White House, Department of Defense, State Department and others requesting a tranche of documents related to the end of America’s longest war.
‘The Biden Administration was tragically unprepared for the Afghanistan withdrawal and their decisions in the region directly resulted in a national security and humanitarian catastrophe,’ Comer said in a statement. ‘Every relevant department and agency should be prepared to cooperate and provide all requested information.’
Comer’s committee has requested documents from the Biden Administration that “include contingency plans on the withdrawal; interagency records; communications with NATO leaders regarding troop drawdowns; the posture of terrorist organizations in the months leading to the withdrawal; information on the closure of Bagram airfield, and more.
“The Afghanistan investigation is just one of a slew of inquiries congressional Republicans have opened into the Biden administration. Comer and others are also looking into the Biden family’s business dealings and the president’s mishandling of classified documents, among other things, Fox News wrote.
Democrats knew that investigations into the withdrawal from Afghanistan might lead to their embarrassment. In last year’s Natoinal Defense Authorization Act, Adam Schiff snuck in an amendment that would make the examination of the debacle more difficult.
13 American soldiers were killed as the United States military during the operation.
ProPublica described what happened: “Days before the final withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, thousands of desperate Americans and Afghan allies seeking to flee the country were using unguarded routes across open fields and through narrow alleys to reach one of the only gates providing access to the Kabul airfield.
Despite intelligence warning of terrorist attacks, U.S. military commanders encouraged use of the routes. Some U.S. officials even provided maps to evacuees trying to bypass Taliban fighters stationed at a checkpoint outside the airport.
It was a decision born of necessity, senior military officials told Alive in Afghanistan and ProPublica. The U.S. had publicly committed to helping the tens of thousands of Afghans who had worked on its behalf to safety. The choice was stark. The government’s hold on Afghanistan was collapsing far sooner than intelligence agencies had expected, and the U.S. was forced to improvise a way to evacuate more than 120,000 people in a chaotic environment barely controlled by its remaining forces.
The investigation and its conclusions are likely to raise new questions about the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Taliban rapidly retook the country. The suicide bombing at the gates of the airport was one of the deadliest attacks on American forces in the 20-year history of the war. In addition to those who lost their lives, 45 U.S. service members and an estimated 200 or more Afghans were wounded.”