Washington, Apr 7: The US administration has blamed the hasty withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in the wake of the 2021 Taliban takeover on former President Donald Trump, saying that President Joe Biden was "severely constrained" by his predecessor's decisions, including the 2020 Doha Agreement to end the war.
This was revealed in a new report which was put together by the White House National Security Council with input from Biden and made available to the public on Thursday. It says that when Biden took office in January 2021, he "believed the right thing for the country was to end the longest war in American history and bring American troops home".
But "Biden's choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor", the report said.
"When Trump took office in 2017, there were more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. Eighteen months later, after introducing more than 3,000 additional troops just to maintain the stalemate, he ordered direct talks with the Taliban without consulting with our allies and partners or allowing the Afghan government at the negotiating table.
"In September 2019, Trump emboldened the Taliban by publicly considering inviting them to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11. In February 2020, the US and the Taliban reached a deal, known as the Doha Agreement, under which Washington agreed to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.
"In return, the Taliban agreed to participate in a peace process and refrain from attacking US troops and threatening Afghanistan's major cities, but only as long as the US remained committed to withdraw by the agreement's deadline," it added.
The report goes on to say that as part of the agreement, the former President had also pressured the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban fighters from prison, "without securing the release of the only American hostage known to be held by the Taliban".
Over his last 11 months in office, Trump ordered a series of drawdowns of American troops and by June 2020, he reduced personnel in Afghanistan to 8,600.