In an interview on Thursday, Joe Biden outright rejected an official investigative report by the United States Army that highlighted many of the failures that led to the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
As reported by the Daily Caller, the 2,000-page report was released by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this week. The report included the sworn testimony of multiple commanders who were on the ground in Afghanistan and witnessed the failed withdrawal firsthand.
But in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, when Holt noted the report’s claim that “the administration ignored the handwriting on the wall,” Biden responded with “no, no, that’s not what I was told.”
“There is no good time to get out,” Biden said, reaffirming his previous stance that some degree of failure was inevitable in the withdrawal process. When Holt pressed him further and asked if he was officially rejecting the conclusions of the report, Biden responded “Yes, I am. I’m rejecting them.”
The report includes numerous aspects of the withdrawal that were previously unreported, including acts of violence committed against Americans in Afghanistan, complaints from commanders, and even belligerence from Americans who refused to leave Afghanistan. On August 15th, the day the capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban, an Army officer from the 10th Mountain Division was sent to the U.S. embassy to begin evacuating personnel. He found several State Department employees “intoxicated and cowering in rooms,” while others were simply going about their business with “absolutely no sense of urgency or recognition of the situation.”
The failures began after Biden announced that he would be arbitrarily extending the official withdrawal date from May 1st to September 11th, 2021, before scaling back to a final date of August 31st; this was in violation of the peace agreement signed by the United States, the Afghan government, and the Taliban in February of 2020 under the Trump Administration. In response to the U.S.’s violation of its side of the deal, the Taliban began waging an offensive and took numerous territories and regional capitals throughout the country before storming the city of Kabul on August 15th.
The subsequent hasty withdrawal saw numerous rushed flights out of the country, including some cases where panicked Afghan citizens, who stormed the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, desperately clung onto American aircraft as they took off, eventually falling to their deaths. Some flights saw unvetted Afghanis loaded onto planes first ahead of American citizens, thus leaving behind thousands of American civilians by the time the final date of August 31st arrived. A suicide bombing at the airport on August 26th killed 13 American servicemembers and dozens of civilians.
The disaster, unfolding before the entire world, led to a significant decrease in confidence in America among allies, and also served as the catalyst for Biden’s declining approval ratings, which have been consistently underwater since August of 2021.