The Biden administration released a report on the Afghanistan withdrawal Thursday that largely pointed the finger at former president Donald Trump for the botched exit that resulted in the country’s rapid fall to the Taliban.
“Decisions made and the lack of planning done by the previous administration significantly limited the options available” for withdrawal, White House spokesman John Kirby said in a briefing on the report, pointing to Trump’s reducing troop numbers and a “starved” visa program.
Kirby said that during the transition, the Biden administration asked to see plans for withdrawal but “none were forthcoming” from the Trump administration.
“Transitions matter and the incoming administration wasn’t afforded much of one,” Kirby said.
The White House does acknowledge in the report that it should have begun evacuations earlier. Kirby said “not everything” was “perfect” but that there is a lot to be “proud of.”
The evacuation ended in August 2021, with the Biden administration leaving nearly $7.2 billion worth of military equipment in the hands of the Taliban, according to oversight reports. Thirteen U.S. servicemembers died in a suicide attack at the evacuation airport. House Republicans have begun investigating the withdrawal and subsequent fall of Afghanistan, issuing Secretary of State Antony Blinken a subpoena in late March.