US House committee questions validity of Biden’s reasons for Afghanistan withdrawal

WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee has released initial findings and transcripts from its examination of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, challenging the accuracy of President Joe Biden’s stated reasons for the pullout.

Chairman Michael McCaul highlighted interviews with key figures involved in the evacuation, including Ross Wilson, the former U.S. ambassador to Kabul, and Sam Aranson, a diplomat involved in consular services during the withdrawal.

The committee disputed Biden’s assertions post-withdrawal that Afghan forces could defend their country without U.S. military support and that the U.S. had fulfilled its mission objectives, including the elimination of Osama bin Laden and the dismantling of Al-Qaeda.

Additionally, the report contended that the Doha Agreement, signed by the Trump administration and the Taliban in 2020, did not obligate the U.S. to exit Afghanistan. It cited internal assessments suggesting Afghan forces would struggle against the Taliban without U.S. aerial support, military advisors, and contractors.

Military leaders and senior NATO allies had recommended maintaining a contingent of 2,500 U.S. and 6,000 NATO troops for counter-terrorism efforts, a stance supported by many within the Biden administration and the American military. However, the report indicates Biden opted against these recommendations.

The committee also criticized the administration for the delayed evacuation of Afghan allies, resulting in many being left behind in Afghanistan or stuck in third countries.

The findings allege the Biden administration provided misleading information to the American public about conditions in Kabul, with official statements conflicting with those from the State Department and the military.