Biden Thinks No One Made Mistakes in Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal: Report

(Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
February 16, 2024

President Joe Biden has long publicly defended his controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, but, according to a new book, his remarks were not just out of political convenience—Biden genuinely believes his administration did not make any mistakes during the withdrawal. 

"No one offered to resign [after the Afghanistan exit], in large part because the president didn't believe anyone had made a mistake. Ending the war was always going to be messy," said Politico's national security reporter Alexander Ward in his upcoming book The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore Foreign Policy After Trump, according to Axios. 

"Biden told his top aides, [National Security Adviser Jake] Sullivan included, that he stood by them and they had done their best during a tough situation," Ward said, adding that a White House official had told him that "there wasn't even a real possibility of a shake-up."

Much went wrong, however, as Biden ended the United States’s 20-year military presence in Afghanistan, including the Taliban’s immediate takeover of Afghanistan following the exit of American troops, 13 American military service members killed in a suicide-bombing during the final stages of the evacuation, and thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies left stranded in Afghanistan. 

During the poorly coordinated evacuation, the Biden administration also left the Taliban "nearly $7.2 billion worth of aircraft, guns, vehicles, ammunition, and specialized equipment," according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. 

"Human rights in Afghanistan are in a state of collapse [two years into the Taliban’s takeover], acutely affecting the lives of millions of women, men, girls and boys," United Nations high commissioner for human rights Volker Turk said in September 2023. "The shocking level of oppression of Afghan women and girls is immeasurably cruel."

Biden, whose poll numbers plummeted following the evacuation, blamed former president Donald Trump for the chaos in the withdrawal, claiming his exit plan was "severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor." In response, Trump accused the Biden administration of orchestrating "a new disinformation game" to hide "their grossly incompetent SURRENDER in Afghanistan."