Democrat President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, declared during a speech on Friday that the administration conducted a safe and effective withdraw from Afghanistan earlier this year despite more than a dozen U.S. troops being killed in the process, several kids being blown up in a drone strike, American citizens being abandoned, and Afghan special-immigrant-visa applicants being left behind.
“Standing here in December, that strategic decision remains the right decision,” Sullivan claimed at the Council on Foreign Relations. “For the first time in 20 years, there are no U.S. troops in harm’s way in Afghanistan this holiday season. We safely and effectively drew down our diplomatic presence. We lifted tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans to safety in a unique American example of capacity, commitment, and sheer logistics.”
Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan: “We safely and effectively drew down” in Afghanistan.
13 U.S. service members were killed. pic.twitter.com/R3I5ielIvl
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) December 17, 2021
The U.S. suspended its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan at approximately the same time that it withdrew the remaining military forces that it had in the country.
Reuters reported at the time:
The United States has suspended its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and will conduct its operations out of Qatar, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, adding Washington will press ahead with its “relentless” efforts to help people leave the country, even after its troops have pulled out.
Blinken’s statement comes after the departure of the last U.S. plane, leaving behind thousands of Afghans who helped Western countries and might have qualified for evacuation.
Sullivan’s controversial claim that the administration “safely and effectively” conducted a draw down in the country comes after 13 U.S. soldiers were murdered in a terrorist attack at the airport in Kabul.
The 13 troops were murdered by a terrorist who was freed from Bagram prison after U.S. forces abandoned the area amidst Biden’s orders to pull out of the country.
“Senior Indian intelligence sources familiar with the case have told Firstpost that he was handed over to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency by the Research and Analysis Wing in September 2017,” Firstpost reported. “However, the jihadist walked free on 15 August along with thousands of other dangerous terrorists held in the high-security prison, taking advantage of the chaos that ensued in the aftermath of the United State’s hurried exit and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the entire country.”
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said in an interview late last week that the U.S. had lost virtually all of its capability to track Islamic terrorists in al-Qaeda and other organizations inside Afghanistan after Biden’s pullout from the country.
The Associated Press reported:
peaking at the Pentagon, McKenzie said it’s clear that al-Qaeda is attempting to rebuild its presence inside Afghanistan, which was the base from which it planned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. He said some militants are coming into the country through its porous borders, but it is hard for the U.S. to track numbers. …
McKenzie and other senior U.S. military and national security officials had said before the U.S. withdrawal that it would complicate efforts to keep a lid on the al-Qaeda threat, in part because of the loss of on-the-ground intelligence information and the absence of a U.S.-friendly government in Kabul. The U.S. says it will rely on airstrikes from drones and other aircraft based beyond Afghanistan’s borders to respond to any extremist threats against the U.S. homeland.
“We’re probably at about 1 or 2% of the capabilities we once had to look into Afghanistan,” he said. The AP reported that McKenzie warned that this meant that it was “very hard” to make sure that major terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS cannot use Afghanistan to launch attacks against the U.S.
Other incidents that occurred that counter Sullivan’s claims that the administration “safely and effectively” left the country include killing seven Afghan children in a drone strike, images of cargo planes running over people on a runway and people falling off planes to their deaths, abandoning American citizens after claiming he would leave the military on the ground until all Americans were out, and abandoning tens of thousands of Afghan allies that assisted U.S. forces in the country.