(CNN) President Joe Biden is “severely constrained” by conditions created by President Donald Trump as he decides to fully withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by the summer of 2021, according to a summary of the findings of an administration-level post-action. The review was published on Thursday.
Declassified findings from long-awaited reviews by the State Department and the Pentagon were sent to Congress on Thursday, fulfilling a White House pledge to release information following a bloody and chaotic withdrawal that included a deadly bombing at Kabul International Airport that killed 13 Americans. troops.
12 page summary document Defends Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and does not openly admit any wrongdoing. However, it acknowledges some of the lessons applied, including the speed of evacuating civilians and allies. It cited intelligence that provided overly rosy projections of the security situation and that Biden followed the recommendations of his military commanders in withdrawing.
Overall, the main interpretation of the brief is that the situation has been made difficult by Trump’s decisions while in office, including a deal with the Taliban that requires US troops to withdraw by May 2021.
In his comments detailing the report’s summary, National Security Council member John Kirby supported Biden’s decision to withdraw and emphasized the work the Biden administration has done since they took office.
“Despite his limited options, President Biden led a deliberate, rigorous and inclusive decision-making process that was responsive to the facts on the ground. He paid close attention to the need for sound planning,” Kirby said.
The brief staunchly defends Biden’s decision to order a full withdrawal, which he argued was necessary to end the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.
“There is no indication that more time, more funding, or more Americans at stake in Afghanistan would have provided a fundamentally different path,” the summary says.
Still, after botched efforts to deport American citizens and those who aided the American war effort, the administration said it was now facilitating earlier departures in other circumstances.
“We are now prioritizing earlier withdrawals when faced with a deteriorating security situation,” the summary says, using the war in Ukraine as an example of earlier withdrawals.
Similarly, management will work to more assertively communicate the risks of staying in unsafe conditions.
“In an environment of security disruption, we now err on the side of aggressive communication about risks,” the brief says.
Following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, several federal agencies conducted investigations. Their release was originally targeted for the one-year anniversary of the dragnet, but was delayed as agencies completed their work.
Following the US withdrawal in August 2021, the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban quickly returned to power.
A blast outside Kabul International Airport’s Abbey Gate killed 13 US service members — 11 Marines, 1 soldier and 1 sailor — and approximately 170 Afghans.
President Joe Biden ordered reviews to determine what went wrong.
We will take care of every aspect from top to bottom, he said.
After taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republicans also began looking into Afghanistan withdrawal, requesting documents and communications as part of their investigation.
This story has been updated with additional updates.