The Biden administration's "abrupt" and "uncoordinated" exit from Afghanistan contributed to the Taliban's rapid takeover of the country in August 2021, according to a forthcoming inspector general report reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
The report blames poor record-keeping of weaponry and a "lack of systemic planning" for the collapse of the Afghan Army to Taliban fighters, who were left with $7.2 billion in U.S. military equipment after the rushed exit. The equipment included aircraft, missiles, and biometric devices. The database used to track equipment in Afghanistan crashed in 2021, making it impossible to create a comprehensive list of abandoned items, the Journal reported.
The findings come a year and a half after the Biden administration's chaotic withdrawal from the country, which resulted in the death of 13 U.S. service members in a terrorist attack at Kabul's airport. Leaked Situation Room notes obtained by Axios show White House officials were brainstorming evacuation plans one day before Taliban fighters entered the country's capital city.
The inspector general report calls out the Department of Defense, which delayed in responding to questions and deadlines. The department, meanwhile, took issue with characterizations in the report that the military abandoned the country abruptly, the Journal reported:
The Defense Department said in a written response included in the report that it cooperated with the investigation, and disputed the characterization, saying it provided written responses to the inspector general’s questions.
The Pentagon also disagreed with some of the report’s key findings, including that U.S. forces abruptly quit the country and cut off assistance to Afghan allies. In its response, included in the report, it said U.S. officials were in touch with Afghan leadership during the period before the withdrawal, assuring them it would continue to provide security assistance.
The Pentagon is aware of the report and provided its input, said Lt. Col. Rob Lodewick, a spokesman for the Pentagon. "However, it would be premature to comment on the report before it’s been published and released."
Terrorists who are trying to take over the Kashmir region in Pakistan are reportedly using U.S. arms left in Afghanistan. Chinese propagandists have pointed to the chaotic withdrawal as an example of American weakness.