During an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, President Joe Biden said that he rejected the results of a U.S. Army investigative report in which military officials reportedly criticized the administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal process, The Hill reported.
When asked by Holt about the details of The Washington Post report, Biden claimed that was not how he was told the events unraveled in late August last year.
“There was no good time to get out, but if we had not gotten out, they acknowledged we would have had to put a hell of a lot more troops back in,” the president replied.
When asked if he was rejecting the conclusions of the report, Biden replied, “Yes, I am. I am rejecting them.”
The Army investigative report, which numbers 2,000 pages, was released to The Post through a Freedom of Information Act request. It details the frustrating interactions between U.S. personnel sent to secure Kabul International Airport in August 2021 and the Biden administration.
According to the paper, the Army report accuses White House and State Department officials of not recognizing the swift advance of the Taliban during the withdrawal process or how to handle the evacuation of Americans and at-risk Afghans.
Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, the top U.S. commander during the operation, told Army investigators that military personnel would have been “much better prepared to conduct a more orderly” evacuation “if policymakers had paid attention to the indicators of what was happening on the ground.”
Biden has firmly defended his decision to withdraw, saying that remaining longer was not an option and that the 20-year U.S. presence in the country needed to come to a close, BBC reported at the time.
“A lot of our veterans and their families have gone through hell,” Biden said on Aug. 31, 2021. “Deployment after deployment. Months and years away from their families … loss of limbs, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress.”
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” he added. “The war in Afghanistan is now over.”
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