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Scoop: White House to circulate Afghanistan memo defending U.S. withdrawal

The White House is likely to circulate a fresh memo on Capitol Hill defending President Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and claiming the move strengthened national security by freeing up critical military and intelligence agents, in accordance with a copy of the document obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The memo comes as much across Washington remain seeking answers concerning the flawed evacuation. Republicans specifically are preparing to utilize the one-year anniversary to reexamine the failures that resulted in the Afghan capital swiftly falling in to the hands of the Taliban.

Driving the news headlines: The memo was compiled by National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson partly as an try to preempt criticism from Republicans that are releasing an interim report on Sunday outlining what they see because the failures of the administration’s preparations for the evacuation.

  • The GOP report, led by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), ranking person in the home Foreign Affairs Committee and the likely chair of the panel if Republicans get back almost all next year, claims the Biden administration left key decisions on how best to evacuate civilians from Kabul before final hours prior to the city fell to the Taliban.
  • “There is a whole lack and failing to plan. There is no plan and there is no plan executed,” McCaul said on CBS’ “Face the country” Sunday morning.

Details: The memo argues the GOP report is “riddled with false claims” and puts the onus on former President Trump for striking a 2020 cope with the Taliban referred to as the “Doha agreement” to evacuate the U.S. from the spot by May 2021.

  • The White House argues top intelligence professionals assessed the U.S. would “ultimately have to send more American troops into harms way merely to keep carefully the stalemate in a 20-year war from degrading,” and Biden refused to achieve that.
  • The White House also touts the recent strike that killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as evidence the U.S. doesn’t need a permanent troop presence to guard against terrorism.

Underneath line: The diverging documents represent the split screen we’ll see in the coming days of how Democrats and Republicans will recount what happened this past year.

  • Democrats and the White House are wanting to portray the withdrawal as a required move that kept U.S. troops safe and ended the 20-year war in your community.
  • Republicans, meanwhile, remain hoping to reexamine the mistakes the administration manufactured in the lead around and following the evacuation, and intend to make Afghanistan an integral focus of investigations should they reclaim power in Congress next year.

Browse the memo.

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