President Joe Biden on Friday insisted he made no mistakes with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which left 13 American troops dead and more injured. He made his comments following the State Department’s release of an “after action review” of the bungled exit.
Biden had just delivered live remarks on the Supreme Court ruling striking down his $430 billion student loan forgiveness plan, and as he was exiting the room, a journalist asked him if he would admit failure in Afghanistan.
“Mr. President, do you admit failure in Afghanistan? Mistakes? There was a — there was a report on Afghanistan withdrawal, saying there was failure, mistakes. Do you admit there was mistakes during the withdrawal and before?” the journalist asked.
Biden turned around and responded, “No, no. All the evidence is coming back. Do you remember what I said about Afghanistan? I said al-Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn’t be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press. I was right.”
Another journalist tried to ask him about the report, but Biden walked out of the room.
It was not the first time Biden denied any regrets about the drawdown, which saw U.S. officials, contractors, and citizens flee haphazardly after the Taliban swept into Kabul and toppled the U.S.-backed government.
The report, which focused on State Department actions, blamed both the Trump and Biden administrations for failing to plan for the worst-case scenarios.
The State Department’s report was released on the Friday before the Fourth of July weekend, prompting journalists to question at the White House briefing if that was done to bury the report’s findings.
To date, no one has been fired for the withdrawal, causing the deaths of 13 U.S. troops and approximately 170 Afghans after an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria suicide bomber targeted a gate at the airport where the chaotic evacuation was staged.
Testimony to Congress from Marine Staff Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews revealed that he and others had spotted the suicide bomber but were not given permission to engage, as reported by Breitbart News.