President Joe Biden on Thursday flatly rejected reports that the US military is sharply critical of his administration’s handling of the Afghan withdrawal last year, ending two decades of war.
An investigative report by The Washington Post quoted sworn testimony by military commanders saying that the White House and State Department left evacuation planning too late, ignored Taliban gains, and were overtaken by events, leading to the frantic final days of mass evacuations from Kabul.
Asked in an interview by NBC’s Lester Holt if the picture — detailed by officers in an official army investigation — rang true, Biden said: “No. That’s not what I was told.”
Asked again if he rejected the accounts in the army report, he said: “I’m rejecting them.”
Biden has repeatedly defended the way he ended the failed US effort to defeat the Taliban, pointing out that previous presidents had for years promised to find an exit, but never did.
“There was no good time to get out,” Biden said again Thursday.
He added that if he had not finally got out, then the number of US troops based in Afghanistan would have needed to “significantly” increase and “we’d be back in this war of attrition.”