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Biden review of chaotic Afghan withdrawal blames Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — An interagency review led by the National Security Council of the chaotic 2021 withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan largely lays the blame on former President Donald Trump, saying President Joe Biden was “severely constrained” by the decisions of his predecessor.

The White House on Thursday publicly released a 12-page summary of the results of the so-called “hotwash” of U.S. policies around the ending of the nation’s longest war, taking little responsibility for its own actions. The administration said most of the after-action reviews, which were transmitted privately to Congress on Thursday, were highly classified and would not be released publicly.

“President Biden’s choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor,” the White House summary states, noting that when Biden entered office, “the Taliban were in the strongest military position that they had been in since 2001, controlling or contesting nearly half of the country.”

The report does fault overly optimistic intelligence community assessments about the Afghan army’s willingness to fight, and says Biden followed military commanders’ recommendations for the pacing of the drawdown of U.S. forces.

The report says as a result of the Afghanistan experience, U.S. policy has been adjusted to speed up evacuations when safety conditions are deteriorating.

“We now prioritize earlier evacuations when faced with a degrading security situation,” the White House said, citing Ukraine and Ethiopia as examples.

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