Unconfirming evidence has emerged that the US-led withdrawal form Afghanistan was not planned and was hampered by chaos and confusion. It ended up in tragic but avoidable consequences.
Republicans from the US House of Foreign Affairs Committee released a dossier that outlines the way they handled the operation on the first anniversary of the Taliban takingover of Kabul, which led to the sudden mass evacuation for thousands of Afghans.
The 121-page, well-written report is not void of punches.
It states that “the choices made in DC’s corridors of power led to tragic but avoidable outcomes”: 13 deaths, American lives still at great danger, increased threats to homeland security, diminished standing abroad for many years, and encouraged enemies around the world.
It says that President Joe Biden’s administration was unable to take important evacuation decisions until “hours” before Taliban took Kabul.
It stated that “very little was done” to prepare for a Taliban overthrow of the country or for evacuation.
It also stated that, despite knowing for months that they were a security risk, the administration did not make any effort to prioritize the evacuation of US-trained Afghan commandos or other elite units with sensitive information about US military operations.
It was stated that many of these personnel “have been forced into seeking refuge in Iran, where they could be exploited to their information.”
According to the report, even President Biden’s officials described the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as a “strategic fail” and “an ugly last phase.”
In what Defence Secretary Ben Wallace called “the largest British evacuation after the Second World War”, more than 15,000 Afghan and British citizens were evacuated from the capital by Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force personnel.
The committee’s findings claim that President Biden supported an unconditional withdrawal of Afghanistan from the United States after consulting with senior military advisors.
It states: “There is ample evidence including direct testimony by top NATO allies and American military leaders that they supported a continuation of conditions-based deployment to Afghanistan.”
This required that a counterterrorism advisory mission, consisting of 2,500 US military personnel and 6,000 mostly NATO forces, was maintained.
Further claims are made in the report:
* Despite processing more than 100,000 people, 36 American consular officers were not on the ground in Kabul at the height of the evacuation.
* 1,450 Afghan children were evacuated from their homes without their parents.
* The difficulties during evacuation were made worse by mixed messages from the State Department to Americans, Afghan allies on ground, and a shortage of equipment and personnel at airport.
President Biden praised the operation as an “extraordinary achievement” that brought more than 124,000 Americans to safety. It also ended an “endless” war, in which 3,500 US troops and many thousands of Afghans were killed.
He told Americans that the United States had ended the 20-year-old war in Afghanistan. It was the longest American war ever.
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It was an “extraordinary success”
“We accomplished one of the largest airlifts ever… more than twice what experts believed was possible.”
“No nation, no nation has ever done anything similar in history. Only the United States was able and willing to accomplish this feat, and it is what we have achieved today.
“This extraordinary mission was possible because of the skillful, bravery and selfless courage displayed by the United States military, our diplomats, and intelligence professionals.”
The US House of Representatives (lower house), foreign affairs committee is comprised of 27 Democrats, 24 Republicans, and the report was compiled by the’minority party’, which is the Republicans.