White House Defends Afghanistan Withdrawal: ‘Enhancing National Security’

The White House is preparing a memorandum to be distributed to Congress to defend the decision of the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, a move that “enhanced national security by freeing critical military resources and intelligence agents.” This was revealed by the information portal.Axios‘, whoever claims to have read the document. The memo was written by a spokesperson for the National Security Council, Adrian WatsonWith the aim of responding to criticism from the Republican Party, whose report, which highlights the administration’s neglect in the stages leading up to the withdrawal from Kabul, stands out as “full of false information.” The White House remembers how the decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan (by May 2021) was actually made by former President Donald Trump as part of the agreements made with the Taliban in Doha. The Biden administration document also refers to the recent attack that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul, indicating that “the United States does not need a permanent military presence in Afghanistan to defend itself against terrorism.”

Republican report on Afghanistan: “Evacuation decisions were taken at the last minute”

Administration of the President of the United States Joe Biden It allowed key decisions on the evacuation of civilians from Kabul to be made in the final hours of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. This came in a new report published by Republican representatives of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on the eve of the first anniversary of the return of the Taliban to power in Kabul. The investigation was conducted by former CNN journalist Ryan Brown, an expert on Afghanistan and national security. According to the document, the delay in planning the withdrawals was paid dearly, and in the most dire phase of the evacuation, the White House and the State Department did not help the military much.

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The latter was ordered to begin planning the evacuation of civilians in April, four days before the announcement of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. In this regard, various exercises were conducted for different possible scenarios, one of which was on August 6, 2021, just one week before the fall of Kabul. However, according to one of the generals who planned the evacuation activities, General Pharrell Sullivan, “there appears to be a gap between the urgency of developments on the ground and that demonstrated by State Department officials,” who took a position that “frustrated the officers.”

However, the report states that it was only on the afternoon of August 14, 2021 (a few hours before the Taliban captured Kabul) that the National Security Council held a meeting on which groups would prioritize the evacuation. Moreover, the State Department should have made major decisions, such as the decision regarding which third countries should have hosted individuals fleeing Kabul, much earlier. At the time, President Biden blamed the Afghan government, which was afraid to transmit a panic signal to the population, for the delay in beginning the evacuations. According to the Republican representatives’ report, the failures are all attributed to the administration, which has detained only 36 diplomatic officials at Kabul airport, forcing the military with no visa experience to manage the thousands of people arriving at the airport.

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