Watchdog Report on Afghan Collapse Blames Withdrawal, Lack of Planning

    Watchdog Report on Afghan Collapse Blames Withdrawal, Lack of Planning
    Last updated Feb 28, 2023
    Image credit: wsj


    • A report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released on Monday claimed that years of problems with planning and US oversight, along with the withdrawal of American troops, contributed to the collapse of the Western-backed government in Kabul in 2021.[1]
    • The report also claimed that the withdrawal's announcement earlier in 2021 “destroyed the morale of Afghan soldiers and police” who had “long relied on the US military’s presence” for their own protection, as well as to ensure the Kabul government paid their salaries.[2]
    • Watchdog John Sopko also blamed the Trump admin.'s deal with the Taliban, known as the Doha Agreement, for instilling “a sense of abandonment” in both Afghan forces and the general public.[2]
    • The report disclosed that American troops left behind a total of $7.2B in military equipment, including at least 78 aircraft, over 9K air-to-ground munitions, over 40K vehicles, and more than 300K weapons.[3]
    • The report, mandated by Congress immediately after the fall of Kabul, claimed that both the Pentagon and Dept. of State were unresponsive to some of its requests for information, but, in their own official responses, the government agencies said they cooperated with the investigation and disputed some of the findings.[3]
    • The US and Taliban signed the Doha agreement in 2020 under the Trump admin., which the incumbent Biden admin. went through with in 2021, withdrawing all US forces as the Taliban swept the country after 20 years of war.[4]


    Republican narrative

    The evidence continues to mount that the Biden admin.'s rushed and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan directly led to the fall of Kabul and the Taliban returning to power. There's no excuse for the unjust suffering the Afghan people have endured since then, all because Biden wanted to score some cheap political points. While it was Trump who signed the Doha Agreement, it was ultimately Biden who executed a botched withdrawal.

    Democratic narrative

    The US's disastrous invasion and occupation of Afghanistan under George W. Bush, not Biden's withdrawal, are to blame for the fall of Kabul and the current security crisis. The fact that Afghan security forces crashed immediately following the US withdrawal indicates that the security situation was simply unsustainable, and the collapse was essentially inevitable. There are, of course, valid criticisms of the withdrawal, but most have been unnecessary partisan attacks against Biden.

    Political split



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