There’s a new report out Friday from the State Department’s after-action review of the horrible withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
The report excoriates the way the withdrawal was handled, noting that the Biden team did not sufficiently plan or prepare for “worst case scenarios.”
Incredibly, it said it was “unclear” who was in charge at the State Department. They also made the bad mistake of giving up the Bagram airfield to the Afghans, which would have been much easier to defend to get people out, so they were forced to use the Hamid Karzai Airport.
When the evacuation did occur, “senior administration officials had not made clear decisions” on which Afghan citizens would qualify for evacuation from the country and where they would be taken.
That meant they ended up taking people who weren’t necessarily allies who helped us during the war, and leaving our allies — and hundreds of Americans — behind, while not being straight about the number who were left.
Naturally, because the report was bad, it was dropped on a Friday right before a holiday weekend—so that they can try to avoid more press on the issue. Only about half of it was released, with the other part staying classified. While it called out the administration, it was careful not to blame any particular individual despite Sec. of State Antony Blinken being in charge of that leader-challenged State Department.
After the report was released, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby tried to defend the administration with the same poor response that they’ve used for two years: that the “decision to end the war was the right one.” No one was talking about the decision to end the war, but about the horrible way in which Joe Biden and his officials tried to carry it out.
Joe Biden’s response was even worse than Kirby’s.
Washington Bureau Chief for GloboNews, Raquel Krähenbühl asked Biden about the damning report:
“Do you admit failure in Afghanistan? There was a report…saying there was failure, mistakes. Do you admit there was mistakes during the withdrawal and before?”
His response was one for the books — even with all the evidence, even with how much he failed, and the release of the new report, he’s still trying to insist he was right in how he did things and refusing all criticism. The level of arrogance was astonishing.
Brazil's @Rkrahenbuhl: "Do you admit failure in Afghanistan?…There was a report…saying there was failure, mistakes. Do you admit there was mistakes during the withdrawal & before?
Biden: "No, no. All the evidence is coming back together…Read your press. I was right." pic.twitter.com/NL4pvHEhIX
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) June 30, 2023
“No, no. All the evidence is coming back together,” Biden claimed. He then leaned in and did that creepy whispering thing again:
Remember what I said about Afghanistan. I said al-Qaeda would not be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press! I was right.
He hits the podium in emphasis, then turns to leave.
Biden’s remarks were just detached from the facts, as this video shows. Right down the line, he kept showing that he was wrong about everything—from the Taliban takeover to the helicopters off the roof of the embassy, just like Vietnam.
Biden told us Afghanistan wouldn’t fall. He told us it would be a safe and orderly withdrawal. He told us it was “highly unlikely” the Taliban would overrun the country.
He was completely wrong.pic.twitter.com/vqWya0fPTo
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 30, 2023
Biden snapped at reporters like they were children, since they don’t just blindly accept everything he says: “Read your press!” But what he was saying simply wasn’t the case, particularly when it comes to al-Qaeda. Not only are they in the country, al-Qaeda-affiliated people are part of the government, according to a recent UN report. Does he not know this or is he trying to gaslight us?
According to the U.N. Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team in its June report, there are leaders in the Afghan government affiliated with al-Qaeda including “two provincial governors of the Taliban de facto administration,” Qari Ehsanullah Baryal and Hafiz Muhammad Agha Hakeem, “are affiliated with al-Qaeda,” as well as “another Talib associated with al-Qaeda,” Tajmir Jawad, who is the “Deputy Director of the General Directorate of Intelligence.”
The U.N. noted the U.S. military has assessed that Jawad was the former head of the “Kabul Network” — described as “a mixture of al-Qaeda and Taliban that directed suicide assaults against the United States and other coalition targets.”
The FBI also describes Sirajuddin Haqqani, a Taliban deputy prime minister and the leader of the Taliban government’s powerful interior ministry, as “a senior leader of the Haqqani network” who “maintains close ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda.”
The U.N. said that Sirajuddin’s ministry “continued its distribution of Afghan passports and tazkiras (national identity cards) to al-Qaeda members with advisory roles in main Afghan cities.”
The new report indicated “al-Qaeda members have received appointments and advisory roles in the Taliban security and administrative structures” thanks to the Taliban and that “the Taliban provided al-Qaeda with monthly ‘welfare payments,’ with portions of those payments filtered down to fighters of al-Qaeda affiliated groups.”
The report also said that “one training director of the de facto Ministry of Defence was an al-Qaeda member, while training was based on al-Qaeda manuals, which were openly being used at Ministry facilities.” [….]
The U.N. said that “a range of terrorist groups have greater freedom of maneuver under the Taliban” and “the threat of terrorism is rising in both Afghanistan and the region.”
The report said there are 30 to 60 “core members” of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, with 400 “al-Qaeda fighters” there, but with family and supporters that reaches about 2,000 people. There are also training camps and safe houses for al-Qaeda in the country, including a camp specifically to train suicide bombers.
Yet, given all that, how can Joe Biden tell us with a straight face that there’s no al-Qaeda there, and expect us to just accept what he says?