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Afghanistan chaos will be repeated elsewhere if US doesn't learn from mistakes, watchdog says


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Afghanistan shares blame, fielding a corrupt government whose officials "often focused on personal gain at the country's expense," concluded Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Susan Katz Keating

May 19, 2022


Spearheaded by John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has since 2008 examined the U.S. effort to help rebuild the war-torn Afghanistan. The group's most recent interim report addresses the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, which quickly fell to the Taliban after the U.S. withdrew its forces last year.

Sopko and his team cast blame on the Trump and Biden administrations for setting the stage for disaster.

"SIGAR found that the single most important factor in the ANDSF's collapse in August 2021 was the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan through signing the U.S.-Taliban agreement in February 2020 under the Trump administration, followed by President Biden's withdrawal announcement in April 2021," the group wrote. 


The U.S. State Department views the edicts as "very disturbing, very concerning," spokesman Ned Price said. He bristled at the suggestion that the U.S. enabled the Taliban to wield the power to impose such laws.

"I would absolutely reject the premise of the question that the United States allowed the Taliban to take the capital," Price said last week while meeting with journalists. He defended "the assessment of this president that the presence of some 2,500 troops who would once again be involved in a civil war, who would be targeted, who would have a target on their back not only by the Taliban but also by elements like ISIS-K, a 2,500-strong contingent that would not in the end ... have been able to prevent the Taliban or any larger force from coming to power."

The decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was correct, Price said.


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