Review of final months begins three months after Afghanistan withdrawal

The following-action assessment, led by an unbiased group that began its work previous 7 days, will appear at considerably additional than the US withdrawal from Afghanistan during the last weeks of August, the Pentagon claimed in a assertion. It will start out with the signing of the Doha agreement in between the Trump administration and the Taliban in February 2020 and go via the stop of the evacuation.

That Doha arrangement set the phase for the ensuing elimination of US forces in Afghanistan, which began with a reduction in troop levels from 13,000 to 8,600 in June 2020. It identified as for the finish withdrawal of forces, diplomatic staff, contractors and others by April 2021, a timeline the Biden administration extended till the end of summer season.

But as the armed service started the remaining levels of the drawdown of US forces, the Taliban have been sweeping throughout the country, having around districts and provinces with a speed that shocked US officers and allies. The total of the Afghan Countrywide Defense and Security Forces — the cornerstone of the technique to keep the Taliban at bay — collapsed in a matter of times, as senior Afghan officials, which includes President Ashraf Ghani, fled the nation.

“The Department is dedicated to knowing what labored and what did not do the job in Afghanistan, and we search for to integrate that comprehension into our scheduling and our strategic assessment heading forward,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Rob Lodewick stated in the assertion.

All through and just after the evacuation from Afghanistan, the Biden administration and the armed forces committed to conducting a overview of the procedure and the selections primary up to it.

On August 17, two days just after Kabul fell to the Taliban with rarely a shot fired, US nationwide security adviser Jake Sullivan said there would be an “considerable hotwash.” Sullivan vowed the administration would “seem at every aspect of this from top to base,” promising to share the results of the assessment with the public.

Two weeks later, following the evacuation of US forces and personnel was entire, Joint Chiefs of Employees Chairman Gen. Mark Milley claimed, “How we obtained to this minute in Afghanistan will be analyzed and examined for many years to arrive, and we in the armed forces will tactic this with humility, transparency and candor. There are lots of tactical, operational and strategic lessons to be realized.”

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated that there would be an following-motion critique. “We want to make confident that we master each and every lesson that can be discovered from this encounter,” Austin mentioned. He added that it would transpire “in the times in advance.”

But in the pursuing months, there was very little substantive public dialogue of what went mistaken and what could have been done otherwise. As a substitute, congressional hearings turned into partisan assaults, as Republican lawmakers trashed the Biden administration for its dealing with of the withdrawal. Some even identified as on Milley and Austin, the Pentagon’s top rated two leaders, to resign.

Now the review is underway, as the administration is however operating to realize other problems connected to the entire withdrawal from Afghanistan.

A person of the vital worries is how to perform above-the-horizon operations, an important portion of the government’s ability to monitor Afghanistan and, if important, have out counterterrorism strikes. In addition, the govt proceeds to effort and hard work evacuations for some at-risk Afghans and other individuals from the state.

The Pentagon did not determine the team that had been chosen to perform the evaluation, and there is no deadline or time frame in which it is to be done.

“The crew just begun their operate past week, so I do not have any supplemental updates at this time,” Lodewick stated.

Independently, the Point out Department watchdog in Oct opened a number of opinions into the US exit from Afghanistan, which include the Distinctive Immigrant Visa application and the Afghan resettlement method. Even throughout the withdrawal, the Exclusive Inspector Common for Afghanistan Reconstruction issued a scathing report about classes figured out from the 20-yr war, which it said was doomed by an incoherent approach and unrealistic timelines that depended on a corrupt Afghan government.