Biden says he rejects findings of Army report on Afghanistan
President Biden on Thursday said he rejected the accounts and findings of an Army investigative report in which military officials reportedly criticized Biden administration officials for failing to grasp the situation in Afghanistan as U.S. forces withdrew.
Asked about the report during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, Biden said that it didn’t square with his impression of the administration’s handling of the withdrawal.
“No, that’s not that I was told,” Biden said when asked if the details of the investigation, which was reported by The Washington Post, rang true to him. “There was no good time to get out, but if we had not gotten out, they acknowledged we would have had to put a hell of a lot more troops back in.”
Asked if he was rejecting the accounts or conclusions of the report, Biden replied, “Yes, I am.”
“I am rejecting them,” he said.
The Post reported earlier this week that the Army report stretches thousands of pages and contains sworn testimony from commanders involved in the withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer.
According to The Post, military officials quoted in the document accused White House and State Department officials of not recognizing the swift advance of the Taliban as U.S. forces withdrew from the country. It reportedly points to disagreements over how to handle the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans.
The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a low point for Biden in his first year in office. While a majority of Americans support withdrawing from the country, the chaotic nature of the U.S. military exit spawned criticism from Republicans and Democrats of the administration’s handling of it.
Biden has firmly defended his decision to withdraw, saying that remaining in Afghanistan would have cost more American lives and forced the U.S. to commit more forces to fight off the Taliban.
Asked about the Army report earlier this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted the administration was prepared for “a range of contingencies,” but noted that U.S. officials did not anticipate Afghanistan falling to the Taliban as quickly as it did.
“There was a range of contingency planning that was done in close coordination by all of the players on the national security team at the time to prepare for a range of options and a range of outcomes,” Psaki said.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.