Washington Post investigative reporter Craig Whitlock told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Monday, on the one-year anniversary of the Taliban taking over Afghanistan, “the Biden Administration owns the failures of the evacuation.”

The war in Afghanistan had lasted 20 years, from 2001-2021. At the end, Americans at home were appalled by images of a resurgent Taliban regime as American gear, allies, and even some American citizens were left behind. 

“A year later, I think the American people are still really trying to come to grips with this idea that they lost the war to the Taliban,” Whitlock said.

“This was the longest armed conflict in United States history. And I think people are still haunted by those images of our withdrawal by the U.S. military planes trying to evacuate people a year ago,” he observed. “And this is — this is a very painful moment in U.S. history.”

A Taliban fighter sits on the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

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Whitlock explained that the Afghanistan withdrawal was a humanitarian disaster, and that neither the general populace nor “our political leaders” have truly “come to grips” with how the war in Afghanistan ended. 

“As you know, the U.S. Congress several months ago approved the creation of a commission to try and figure out what happened in Afghanistan, what went wrong, not just at the end,” he said. “And certainly the Biden Administration owns the failures of the evacuation.”

But despite his claim of the Biden administration owning “the failures of the evacuation,” Biden and his spokespeople either tout it as a success or blame the previous president. 

An Air Force aircrew, assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, prepares to receive soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the final noncombatant evacuation operation missions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021.

An Air Force aircrew, assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, prepares to receive soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft in support of the final noncombatant evacuation operation missions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021.
(Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP, File)

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In August 2021, President Biden had declared the withdrawal to be an “extraordinary success,” touting that “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety.”

More recently, National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson drafted a memo specifically pointing the blame at the Trump administration, claiming, “When we took office, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 2001 – and we had the smallest number of U.S. troops on the ground.”

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 23, 2021. 

Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 23, 2021. 
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell)

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She responded to the claim by Republicans that the chaotic withdrawal has damaged American credibility on the world stage by juxtaposing Biden with Trump, saying, “President Biden has rebuilt our alliances and restored our credibility on the world stage after four years of former President Trump’s presidency damaged America’s reputation and left us increasingly isolated internationally and from our allies and partners.”



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