Lindsey Graham criticizes Afghanistan report as ‘political whitewash’

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US Senator Lindsey Graham blasted the White House’s after-action report of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan as a “political whitewash.”

This week, the White House released a 12-page unclassified summary, which laid much of the blame for the turbulence on the Trump administration. Graham conceded that Trump made decisions with which he disagreed, but warned that President Joe Biden planted the seeds “for another 9/11.”

“Some of the things President Trump did I disagreed with. But he didn’t withdraw,” Graham told Fox News on Sunday.

“This report is a political whitewash by the Biden administration to shift blame. The report says that our mission had been accomplished. That’s why Biden got out of Afghanistan,” he added.

The White House last week sent a report to Congress on the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and blamed the chaos on a deal former President Donald Trump made with the Taliban a year earlier.

The document remains confidential but a summary of the review’s conclusions was released on Thursday night.

In a press conference on Thursday night, President Joe Biden’s national security spokesman, John Kirby, blamed the chaos on Trump’s Doha deal and said Biden had “acted in accordance with the best judgment of his advisers”.

Asked whether any officials involved with the withdrawal would be removed from their posts as a result of the report, Kirby said its purpose “is not accountability”.

Graham quickly emerged as one of Biden’s loudest critics of the Afghanistan withdrawal and repeatedly warned that it could leave a vacuum for new terrorist threats in the future.

“[Biden’s] claiming that we eradicated all terrorist threats in Afghanistan. That’s why he withdrew to end the longest war,” Graham added. “General Kurilla said last week, who’s the head of CentCom, that the rise of ISIS-K and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is so severe, we could be attacked in America in the next six months without warning.”

Biden’s approval rating dipped into the negatives for one of the first times in his presidency and hasn’t turned positive in the time after the withdrawal, according to a RealClearPolitics polling aggregate.

“When the Biden administration tells you there are no terrorists in Afghanistan, they are lying. There’s a lethal cocktail forming,” Graham warned. “It’s only a matter of time until there’s another 9/11 if we don’t change policies.”

Graham has endorsed Trump in the 2024 election, despite his more hawkish foreign policy positions occasionally chaffing with Trump’s “America First” agenda, which is generally warier of foreign interventions.