Trump ordered withdrawal from Afghanistan after he lost election, panel says

Donald Trump was rushing to 'complete his unfinished business' before leaving the White House and also pulled troops from Somalia

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Then-president Donald Trump ordered the full and rapid withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan and Somalia shortly after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, a House committee said on Thursday.

The revelation undermines claims from Mr Trump and his Republican Party that they would have better handled the end of the Afghanistan war had they stayed in power.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the special panel investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, said Mr Trump ordered the withdrawals because he knew he had lost the election, despite his claims to the contrary.

Mr Kinzinger said the former president was rushing "to complete his unfinished business".

"President Trump issued an order for large-scale US troop withdrawals," he said.

"He disregarded concerns about the consequences for fragile governments on the front lines of the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists.

"Knowing he was leaving office, he acted immediately and signed this order on November 11, [2020] which would have required the immediate withdrawal of troops from Somalia and Afghanistan all to be complete before the Biden inauguration on January 20.“

The January 6 committee showed this excerpt of Mr Trump's order

The committee then played a brief excerpt of an interview with Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It is odd. It is non-standard. It is potentially dangerous. I personally thought it was militarily not feasible nor wise," Gen Milley said.

Gen Keith Kellogg, who was the national security adviser to then-vice president Mike Pence, said in another excerpt that the immediate departure of troops would have been "catastrophic" and a "debacle", like that which transpired under Mr Biden.

According to the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, negotiated under Mr Trump, the last US forces were supposed to leave Afghanistan by May 2021.

Mr Biden secured an extension until the end of August, but even then the botched withdrawal was a humiliating end to America's longest war, which put the lives of thousands of Afghans loyal to the West at risk.

As Mr Trump's presidency wound down, he ordered the withdrawal of hundreds of troops who were helping local forces to fight the terrorist group Al Shabab.

Mr Biden later reversed Mr Trump's Somalia order and sent troops back.

Updated: October 13, 2022, 9:20 PM
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