Scoop: White House to circulate Afghanistan memo defending U.S. withdrawal

The White House plans to circulate a new memo on Capitol Hill that defends President Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, claiming the decision strengthened national security by freeing critical military and intelligence agents. A copy of the document Obtained by Axios.

Why this is important: The memo comes as many in Washington are still searching for answers about the botched evacuation. In particular, Republicans are looking to use the one-year anniversary to reexamine the failures of the fall of Afghanistan’s capital to the Taliban.

Running News: National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote the memo in part as an attempt to deflect criticism from Republicans. Issuance of Interim Report Sunday outlined what appears to be a failure of the administration’s preparations to evict them.

  • Rep. The GOP report, led by Michael McCaul (R-Texas), claims that the Biden administration has left key decisions on how to proceed. Evacuate civilians from Kabul in the last hours before the city falls to the Taliban.
  • “There was a complete lack and failure to plan. There was no plan and no plan was executed,” McCaul said Sunday morning on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Details: The memo argues that the GOP report is “full of false claims” and blames former President Trump for a 2020 deal with the Taliban — known as the “Doha Accord” — to pull the U.S. out of the region by May 2021.

  • The White House has argued that top intelligence professionals have assessed that the US “must eventually send More American troops harmed to prevent a 20-year-old war from ending,” and Biden refused to do so.
  • An al-Qaeda leader was killed in a recent attack on the White House Ayman al-Zawahiri As proof America does not need a permanent military presence to defend against terrorism.

Bottom line: Separate documents represent a split screen We’ll see in the coming days how Democrats and Republicans tell what happened last year.

  • Democrats and the White House are eager to portray the withdrawal as a necessary step that keeps U.S. troops safe and ends 20 years of war in the region.
  • Republicans, meanwhile, plan to reexamine the administration’s mistakes leading up to and after the evacuation and make Afghanistan a key focus of the investigation if they win back power in Congress next year.

Read the memo.

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