State Department didn’t plan or respond fast enough in Afghanistan collapse, new US report says

211108 soheil ahmadi mb 1103 47030c

WASHINGTON – The State Department did not do enough planning before the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan, according to a Biden administration review of the department’s performance during the chaotic evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies.

The review repeatedly accuses the administrations of both former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden of their efforts before and after the withdrawal of US forces from Kabul in August 2021. The US evacuated about 124,000 Afghans from the country .

In turn, Republicans have accused Biden of failing to take responsibility for the intelligence failures that led to the Taliban’s takeover of the country and the scenes of chaos at Kabul airport, where 13 North- Americans and about 170 Afghans died in a suicide attack.

Biden was defiant when asked Friday if he would admit that the US made mistakes before and during its withdrawal.

“Remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said al-Qaeda wasn’t going to be there,” Biden said. “I said we would get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s happening? Read your press. I was right.”

The United States in July 2022 killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike on his home in Kabul, part of what the Biden administration calls an “over the horizon” capability to join the group after withdrawal. But a United Nations monitoring team reported in May that al-Qaida considers Afghanistan a “safe haven” and that the Taliban had not fulfilled previous counterterrorism commitments.

“Al Qaeda maintains a low profile, focusing on using the country as an ideological and logistical hub to mobilize and recruit new fighters while covertly rebuilding its external operations capability,” the monitors said in their report. .

According to Friday’s report, a State Department task force helped remove nearly 2,000 Afghan nationals in July and early August 2021, weeks before the Aug. 31, 2021, deadline that the U.S. they set for withdrawal. They were eligible to be processed under a special US visa program for Afghans.

But State “failed to establish a broader task force as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated,” the report said.

And because the military was planning the evacuation of American civilians and Afghan allies, “it wasn’t clear who in the Department had the lead,” he says.

“Decisions by both President Trump and President Biden to end the US military mission in Afghanistan had serious consequences for the viability of the Afghan government and its security,” the review said. “Those decisions are outside the scope of this review, but the (review) team found that during both administrations there was not enough senior-level consideration of worst-case scenarios and how quickly they could be pursued.”

As the Taliban took key cities much faster than most U.S. officials expected and the fate of Kabul became unclear, the report says, State Department staff began receiving a “ overwhelming volume of incoming calls and messages” from lawmakers, other government agencies and the public. asking for help to save people trapped in the country.

According to the report, personnel working to facilitate the evacuation also faced confusing guidance that did not match real-world conditions at the time.

The state has heeded the lessons of Afghanistan’s failures to evacuate people before and during the subsequent war in Ukraine and as a crisis unfolded in Sudan, according to a senior Department of Defense official. State that informed the journalists on Friday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as per the basic rules set by the department.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a letter to staff that the review was “vital to building a stronger department that is better prepared to meet future challenges and to fulfill our missions around the world”.

Source link

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *