Lauren Moye, FISM News
The Biden administration has condemned an interim report on the U.S.’s botched exit from Afghanistan released by House Republicans as “partisan” and “inaccurate,” despite the undeniable damage done to hundreds of lives since August of last year.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee released a report over the weekend to select news organizations that highlighted how the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan left hundreds more American citizens behind than the administration had previously suggested. A Politico report states that the State Department confirmed the Republican’s report which revealed that there were over 800 citizen evacuations since the withdrawal though the White House had at the time claimed less than 100 American citizens were left behind who wanted to be extracted.
Adriene Watson, the spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC), released a four-page memo in response to the interim report unveiled by the committee’s lead Republican, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas.
“This partisan report is riddled with inaccurate characterizations, cherry-picked information, and false claims,” the memo, originally circulated by Axios, states. “It advocates for endless war and for sending even more American troops to Afghanistan.”
The memo portrays that Biden had only two options: increasing troop presence or removing U.S. soldiers from the country. The latter option “strengthened national security” and placed the U.S. “in a stronger place to lead the world,” Watson claimed in the memo.
The hasty exit, however, compromised the personal security of both American citizens in the country and 74,000 “vulnerable Afghans” who worked with the U.S. government according to the report.
“There are many sins if you will. There was a complete lack and failure to plan. There was no plan and it was – there was no plan executed,” McCaul, the congressman leading the report, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
These sins include entrusting the Taliban to secure key locations ahead of the evacuation, which contributed to the suicide bombing that killed 13 soldiers and 160 Afghans on the day of the withdrawal.
Collateral damage from that moment continued to grow with the recent death of Dakota Halverson, the 28-year-old older brother of one of the soldiers killed by the blast. The older Halverson committed suicide on Aug. 9 during a memorial service for his brother, the Daily Wire reported.
The report’s release coincides with the one-year anniversary of U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Far from partisan, other U.S. government officials have confirmed the withdrawal left American families stranded, $7 billion worth of U.S. military equipment abandoned, and Afghans terrified of brutal human rights violations under Taliban control.
The fault for the hasty exit and resulting problems lies on former President Donald Trump’s shoulders, according to the NSC. Watson wrote that Biden simply inherited a deal requiring troop removal with no plan on how to do it.
The Doha Agreement made by the Trump administration aimed to end an 18-year-war in Afghanistan, along with a withdrawal date for U.S. troops. However, the deal was also contingent on security guarantees like the Taliban’s complete disavowal from the extremist militant Islamic group Al-Qaeda.
This never happened. In fact, a U.N. intelligence report recently called Afghanistan a “safe haven” for Al-Qaeda, along with terrorist groups ISIS-K and the Haqqani Network
Others have noted that Biden was not “handcuffed” to the agreement, even if they did appear to be honoring the deal, ABC News reported last year.
Biden’s decision to pull troops has been heavily criticized and condemned by more than just Republicans. On Feb. 11, the United States Army released a report with thousands of pages of testimony saying Biden was unprepared for the evacuation. Biden’s defenders also claimed that report was “cherry-picked.”
But public opinion questions Biden’s integrity in the matter. In Sept. 2021, top defense officials testified against a full withdrawal of troops despite Biden’s insistence he was never warned. A Rasmussen poll found that only 21% of Americans believed Biden was telling the truth.
Meanwhile, the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover has resulted in hundreds of human rights violations according to the U.N., mostly against women, journalists, and human rights defenders.
McCaul told “Face the Nation,” that the intelligence community “called it right. The problem was the White House and…State Department putting their head in the sand, not wanting to believe what they were saying, and therefore not adequately planning.”