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Biden Afghanistan report mostly blames Trump for chaotic US withdrawal



(Last Updated On: April 7, 2023)

President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday released a summary of classified reports that mostly blamed the chaotic August 2021 US pullout from Afghanistan on his predecessor, Donald Trump, for failing to plan for the withdrawal he had agreed on with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).

The Democratic administration’s summary, drawn from top-secret State Department and Pentagon reviews sent to Congress, ignited angry reactions from Republican lawmakers who have demanded the documents for their own investigation of the pullout, Reuters reported.

Michael McCaul, the Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, strongly criticized the administration. Biden ordered the pullout and was “responsible for the massive failures in planning and execution,” McCaul said in a statement.

McCaul, who is overseeing the Republican probe, charged that his multiple threats to subpoena the State Department and Pentagon reviews, which were completed last year, finally compelled the administration to send them to Congress.

“President Biden’s choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor,” said the summary of the reviews. “The outgoing administration provided no plans for how to conduct the final withdrawal or to evacuate Americans or Afghan allies.”

The document acknowledged that the administration learned lessons from the withdrawal, and now errs on the side of “aggressive communication” about risks in a destabilized security environment, read the report.

The withdrawal that ended America’s longest war saw tens of thousands of Afghans desperate to flee a return of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) rule besiege Kabul’s international airport, some handing babies to US troops or breaking in and hanging onto departing aircraft, Reuters reported.

The Trump administration also “gutted” refugee support services and virtually halted the processing of Special Immigration Visas for thousands of Afghans seeking evacuation because they worked for the US government, leaving a massive backlog, the summary said.

“Transitions matter. That’s the first lesson learned here. And the incoming administration wasn’t afforded much of one,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told a White House briefing.

The 12-page summary placed some responsibility for the chaos of the pullout and evacuation operation on flawed US intelligence and military assessments that failed to foresee the speed of the IEA takeover and predicted that Afghan security forces would hold Kabul, read the report.

“As late as May 2021, the assessment was still that Kabul would probably not come under serious pressure until late 2021 after US troops departed,” the summary said.

Pressed on whether Biden bore any responsibility for the Kabul airport disorder, Kirby replied, “Just by dint as the commander in chief, he assumed responsibility for the orders he gives.”

The 20-year war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict involving US troops, was started under President George W. Bush and furthered under President Barack Obama. Over 100,000 people were killed and about 3 million displaced, according to data from the nonpartisan Costs of War project at Brown University.

Biden pledged during his 2020 campaign to end “forever wars” and withdraw from Afghanistan, although he postponed the pullout to which Trump had agreed by three months until the end of August 2021. The US-backed Kabul government collapsed on Aug. 15 as the IEA were entering the city.

The disorganization and chaos as the US left raised questions about Biden’s leadership, the quality of US intelligence and America’s commitment to human rights and thousands of Afghan citizens it had relied on, read the report.

A Daesh suicide bomber on Aug. 26, 2021, killed 13 US service members and 170 Afghans as they clustered outside a gate of the airport.

Thousands of American citizens, greencard holders, and Afghans who had applied for Special Immigration Visas were unable to leave on the largest US airlift on record.

Altogether, some 100,000 Americans, greencard holders and Afghans – many of whom were not vetted – were flown out before the US withdrawal ended just shy of the 20th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Reuters reported.

The Trump administration agreed in a February 2020 accord with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), on the pullout of all US-led international forces by May 2021. The IEA agreed to stop attacking American troops and hold peace talks with the Western-backed Kabul government.

In laying out the withdrawal chronology, the summary said that successive troop reductions ordered by Trump had left 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan when Biden took office in January 2021. The result was that the IEA controlled or contested half the country, the summary said.

Faced with the choice of delaying the pullout or increasing the number of US forces and facing renewed IEA attacks, Biden chose the former and ordered planning for the withdrawal and evacuation operation, the summary said.

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Almost 700 people including ex-govt officials return home: commission



(Last Updated On: October 1, 2023)

The Commission for Contact with Afghan Personalities says nearly 700 officials of the previous government, politicians, members of the National Council and some experts have returned to Afghanistan since the establishment of the commission early last year.

“Six hundred and eighty people from different countries have returned to the country,” said the commission’s spokesman, Ahmadullah Wasiq.

He stated that among these people are former officials of the old government who worked in various ministries and departments.

He added that currently, a large number of personalities, including politicians and high-ranking officials of the former government, have received application forms to return to the country through this commission, and will come home soon.

“We have distributed hundreds of forms [to them] and our wish is that in the near future many of the people will return to the country, so for now this process is going very well,” Wasiq added.

A number of those who have returned to the country, however, are demanding some changes to the commission, adding that the caretaker government should make effective use of the cadres and experts who return and provide them with work opportunities.

“The method of this process should be changed, such as communicating with experts or elites or politicians. Second, when these people come to Afghanistan, they should be provided with work,” said Amanullah Ghalib, former head of Breshna Sherkat, who also returned to the country recently.

Officials have repeatedly requested Afghans living abroad, including politicians and officials of the previous government, to return to their homeland and continue their normal lives in Afghanistan in accordance with the general amnesty issued by the Islamic Emirate’s supreme leader.

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Hanafi says IEA seeking to promote electronic governance



(Last Updated On: October 1, 2023)

Deputy Prime Minister for Administrative Affairs Abdul Salam Hanafi said on Sunday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is trying to promote electronic governance in its institutions.

Hanafi said this at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the simplification of administrative processes between the Department of Administrative Reforms and Civil Services, the Ministry of Martyrs and the Disabled, and Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat company.

Hanafi added that the Islamic Emirate is committed to e-governance and is seeking to network government institutions so that the work can be done quickly.

“God willing, we are determined to gradually reform all government institutions. We are seeking to end the paperwork in the departments and we are trying to promote electronic governance among the institutions,” he said.

Hanafi also said that the Islamic Emirate is committed to serving the people and to the development of the country. He also said the government will soon start work on the second phase of Qosh Tepa canal as the first phase is almost complete.

“Alhamdulillah, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is engaged in reconstruction and development works in various fields. The first phase of the Qosh Tepa canal is being completed with our own funds,” he said.

On the other hand, officials in the Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Department said that they are hoping to attract experts and professionals in government offices and want the work to be entrusted to professionals. At the same time, the officials of DABS announced that 118 million afghanis has been collected from strongmen.

“The goal is to prevent corruption. The goal is to show compassion to the oppressed and suffering people. The goal is to avoid spending,” Abdulhanan Arifullah, the general director of the Administrative Reforms and Civil Services Department, said.

Deputy PM Hanafi said that compared to any other institution, the processes in the Ministry of Martyrs and the Disabled need to be simplified because vulnerable people reach out to this institution.

According to him, in the current year, 13.5 billion afghanis have been budgeted for the martyrs, disabled and orphans.

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Afghan embassy in India announces it will cease operations from Oct. 1



(Last Updated On: October 1, 2023)

The embassy of Afghanistan in India’s capital New Delhi will cease operations from Oct. 1, due to a lack of support from India and a reduction in personnel and resources, the embassy said in a statement on social media platform X.

The embassy also said a failure to meet expectations in serving Afghanistan’s interests is another key factor in shutting of the embassy.

“Given these circumstances, it is with deep regret that we have taken the difficult decision to close all operations of the mission with the exception of emergency consular services to Afghan citizens till the transfer of the custodial authority of the mission to the host country,” the embassy said in the statement dated Sept. 30.

In its announcement, the Afghan Embassy also cited challenges like shortage of both personnel and resources available. “The lack of timely and sufficient support from visa renewal for diplomats to other critical areas of cooperation led to an understandable frustration among our team and impeded our ability to carry out routine duties effectively,” the statement read.

The embassy also refuted any “baseless claims” regarding internal strife or discord among its diplomatic staff or any diplomats using the crisis to seek asylum in a third country.

Reuters had reported on Friday that the Afghan embassy in India suspended all operations after the ambassador and other senior diplomats left the country for Europe and the United States where they gained asylum.

India does not recognise the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) as government, and closed its own embassy in Kabul after the IEA took control in 2021, but New Delhi had allowed the ambassador and mission staff appointed by the Western-backed government of ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to issue visas and handle trade matters.


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