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Washington, D.C. – One year ago yesterday, as Americans and Afghan partners were desperately trying to get to the Kabul airport and out of the country to safety, President Biden was interviewed by ABC News. In this interview he made many claims about his decision to withdraw and the situation on the ground at the time. We now know many of these claims were inaccurate.

Claim: “I don’t think anybody anticipated that” the Afghan military would not be able to defend themselves against the Taliban.

  • Fact: The Afghan military was not nearly as large as the president claimed and the U.S. government knew for years it heavily relied on U.S. contractors and air support. The U.S. military also warned a collapse was likely after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal. (Interim Report, pg. 14)

Claim: His top military advisors did not urge him to keep about 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.

  • Fact: Generals Milley, McKenzie, and Miller all recommended he keep 2,500 troops in the country. And General McKenzie testified to Congress, “I am confident that the President heard all the recommendations.” (Interim Report, pg. 4)

Claim: The Taliban was “cooperating, letting American citizens get out.”

  • Fact: Secretary Austin told Congress the very next day they had reports of Taliban fighters beating and harassing American citizens. (Interim Report, pg. 71)

Claim: He personally met with NATO allies and that “they agreed. We should be getting out.”

  • Fact: Most NATO Members did not support the unconditional withdrawal, and senior officials in the UK government explored ways to keep their troops on the ground there after the American withdrawal. NSA Sullivan has since admitted “many allies disagreed wit the result of the decision” to withdraw. (Interim Report, pg. 8)

Claim: The U.S. accomplished its reasons for being in the country, which were to kill Osama bin Laden and to “wipe out” al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

  • Fact: The president’s own military officials at the Pentagon confirmed that al Qaeda was still operating in the country the day after this interview. In addition, an UN report issued the month before on July 21, 2021, stated al Qaeda had a presence in at least 15 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. (Interim Report, pg. 14)

In this interview, President Biden also:

Admitted he “would’ve tried to figure out how to withdraw those troops” even if President Trump had not made the Doha agreement;

  • Rep. McCaul’s Interim Report has an entire chapter evaluating the Doha agreement’s impact on the president’s decision to withdraw. While the report finds the agreement “damaged the morale of Afghan forces, and emboldened the Taliban,” top Biden military officials and U.S. allies like the UK have all agreed the agreement was conditions-based, and that those conditions were not being met (Interim Report, pg. 11);

Committed to keeping troops in the country until every American was safely evacuated.

  • We now know the State Department has evacuated more than 800 American citizens after the military withdrawal was complete on August 31, 2021. In addition, outside veterans groups have evacuated several hundred additional American citizens. To date, more than 200 American citizens are currently trapped in Afghanistan, according to the State Department (Interim Report, pg. 65);

Downplayed the fact that people fell to their deaths from planes in their desperate attempt to escape the country; and

Said there were no mistakes and that the exit from Afghanistan could not have been handled better.

“Contrary to what administration officials have said since the release of my interim report, President Biden himself made it crystal clear that the Doha agreement did not tie his hands – he would have unconditionally pulled out of Afghanistan no matter what,” stated McCaul. “Whether you agree with his decision to unconditionally withdraw from the country or not, it didn’t have to be like this. My interim report proves the State Department and NSC were simply not taking the necessary steps to prepare for the fallout. For God’s sake, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan at the time took a two-week vacation at the same time the top general on the ground was warning about the ‘rapid loss of district centers.’ The tragedy the world saw unfold on our televisions one year ago was avoidable. And this administration’s attempt to sweep this under the rug is absolutely unacceptable.”