UPDATED 12:45 PM PT – Friday, December 10, 2021
The State Department and the Pentagon have begun reviews of its handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said their 90-day review would help them see what they can learn from the pullout. The review will look into the period between January of 2020 and August 2021.
“Some of our colleagues spent years in Afghanistan, some completing multiple tours, while others supported the mission from here in Washington or elsewhere. I believe it is critical for the department and our country that we capture and benefit from the lessons of our engagement in Afghanistan,” Blinken said in a statement. He then described the effort as an after-action review “of the department’s execution of its duties pertaining to closing out the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.”
In the meantime, the Department of Defense’s probe will analyze the department’s conduct from February 2020 to August of this year.
Joe Biden has faced severe backlash for the withdrawal due to an apparent lack of preparation and mismanagement in the months leading up to the pullout date in late August. A total of 13 U.S. service members died in a terror attack at the Kabul airport in August during the hectic withdrawal.
Blinken said the team leading the project “will have access to relevant documents and records, and is authorized to interview on a voluntary basis any individual it deems holds information relevant to the scope of the review.”
Blinken said this includes individuals from both the previous and current administrations who held leadership positions and had relevant involvement with the pullout. He added he encourages anyone who is asked to cooperate with interview requests.