White House review says Biden ‘severely constrained by conditions’ in Afghanistan after Trump

John Kirby
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky/AP

White House review says Biden ‘severely constrained by conditions’ in Afghanistan after Trump

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Former President Donald Trump reduced President Joe Biden‘s options in Afghanistan, according to a White House summary of the administration’s after-action report into its deadly withdrawal from the 20-year war.

“President Biden’s choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor,” the White House said Thursday in its summary.

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In its document, the White House underscored there were more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan at the time of Trump’s administration before more than 3,000 additional service members were deployed 18 months later.

“President Trump ordered direct talks with the Taliban without consulting with our allies and partners or allowing the Afghan government at the negotiating table,” the summary states. “In September 2019, President Trump [emboldened] the Taliban by publicly considering inviting them to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11.”

Of Trump’s deal with the Taliban, known as the Doha agreement, the White House criticized the previous administration for not providing “plans for how to conduct the final withdrawal or to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies.”

“Indeed, there were no such plans in place when President Biden came into office, even with the agreed upon full withdrawal just over three months away,” the summary states.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby defended the White House’s summary, published before a holiday weekend after months of repeated requests.

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There is “no effort to obfuscate” or “bury something,” Kirby told reporters Thursday.

Thirteen U.S. military personnel were killed during the chaotic withdrawal in an ISIS-K terrorist attack near Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate. Almost 200 Afghan civilians also died in the incident.

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