White House Review Reignites Criticism Over Afghanistan Withdrawal

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The White House has been criticized for its handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, after releasing a 12-page review of the decision-making process that largely blamed the Trump administration for limiting President Biden’s options.

American troops
Withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. (Photo: The Washington Post)

Withdrawal of American Troops in Afghanistan

While the Biden administration evacuated some 100,000 allies and American citizens from the country, the sudden fall of Kabul accelerated the chaos of the US withdrawal. The document acknowledges these difficulties, but the document and subsequent comments set a contentious tone as numerous committees plan to review the fallout under GOP leadership.

The Afghanistan withdrawal is expected to become a focal point for Republicans hoping to highlight the Biden administration’s handling of the situation as the GOP ramps up its oversight powers with its relatively new House majority, according to an article published in The Hill.

In the review and subsequent comments by national security spokesperson John Kirby, the White House’s view was that the Trump administration had created unfavorable conditions and restricted Biden’s options for getting US forces out of Afghanistan.

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National Security Spokesperson Described the Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Kirby also rebuffed reporters who described the withdrawal process as chaotic. The August 2021 withdrawal drew intense criticism at the time. Images circulated of crowds swarming the airport to try and get out of the country. Video in one instance showed evacuation planes taking off as citizens clung to the wheels.

The White House document released Thursday did not explicitly state that the administration made mistakes in the withdrawal, but it did lay out that the evacuation of forces and allies should have started sooner once the security situation was deteriorating.

The White House took what it learned from Afghanistan and has since applied it to personnel evacuation efforts in Ethiopia and Ukraine. However, Brett Bruen, a former diplomat who worked in the Obama White House, said he is concerned that the Biden administration’s approach to the review shows they are not seriously addressing mistakes that may crop up again in the future.

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