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Biden’s team defended the US exit from Afghanistan in a report to Congress

7 April: The White House has released a declassified summary of a report to Congress on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, claiming that it was the best possible option given the circumstances.

The 12-page document argues that the Biden administration inherited a flawed deal between the Trump administration and the Taliban, which left them with no realistic alternative but to end the 20-year war.

It also says that no intelligence agency had anticipated such a rapid and complete collapse of the Afghan government and security forces, which allowed the Taliban to take over the country in a matter of weeks.

“The departing Trump administration had left the Biden administration with a date for withdrawal, but no plan for executing it. And after four years of neglect — and in some cases deliberate degradation — crucial systems, offices, and agency functions that would be necessary for a safe and orderly departure were in disrepair,” the report states.

The report acknowledges that the intelligence community had overestimated the Afghan army’s willingness and ability to fight, and that Biden had followed the military commanders’ recommendations for the pace of the drawdown of US forces.

However, it insists that extending the US presence or increasing the US troops would not have changed the outcome of the war, which had cost more than $2 trillion dollars and 300,000 Afghan lives.

“After more than 20 years, more than $2 trillion dollars, and standing up an Afghan army of 300,000 soldiers, the speed and ease with which the Taliban took control of Afghanistan suggests that there was no scenario — except a permanent and significantly expanded US military presence — that would have changed the trajectory,” it says.

The report also highlights the achievements of the evacuation operation, which airlifted more than 120,000 people out of Afghanistan, including US citizens, allies, and vulnerable Afghans.

It concludes that the US withdrawal has strengthened its strategic position and enabled it to focus on other global challenges and opportunities, such as supporting Ukraine and competing with China.

“America is on a stronger strategic footing more capable to support Ukraine and to meet our security commitments around the world, as well as the competition with China, because it is not fighting a ground war in Afghanistan,” John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman said.

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