Biden Spokesman John Kirby Pressed on Pentagon’s New Findings on Afghanistan Exit: ‘Disaster’

The White House is pushing back on a bombshell report from the Department of Defense (DOD) that alleges the Chinese used the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as propaganda to undermine American influence worldwide. 

National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, was recently grilled by Brian Kilmeade of Fox over the report. Kilmeade called out the Biden administration over how the botched exit impacted alliances and the handling of the withdrawal by the Biden administration. 

“Nations like China and Russia took a look at what we did in Afghanistan, and we’ve talked about this many, many times over the last year, and had to marvel at the speed, the efficiency of their effectiveness that very small number …of troops…are able to move that many Afghans safely out of that country. No other nation in the world can do that,” said Kirby.

Kilmeade pushed back on Coordinator Kirby, pointing out the deaths of 13 service members that lost their lives during the exit and the botched withdrawal. 

“The way we did it, the way we promised that government would stand up, the way we were going to leave in and have a transition, the disaster that took place is one of the many problems, along with the soldiers that are suffering now by the way,” said Kilmeade.

“You could argue that Russia invaded Ukraine because of it,” he continued. 

DOD report reveals China used Afghanistan exit to impact American influence overseas

The Department of Defense (DOD) recently released its annual report, which revealed China used the botched Afghanistan exit to impact the influence of America overseas.

“The PRC employed multiple diplomatic tools in an attempt to erode U.S. and partner influence,” read the report, including “highlighting the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

Despite the report’s findings, Kirby was adamant that Chinese officials may not have successfully undermined America’s partnerships overseas. 

“The report said that China attempted to capitalize on it. That’s a big difference from saying that they did or were able to capitalize on this…They spread propaganda about everything,” responded Kirby.

The Department of Defense under President Biden has primarily focused on China as the U.S.’s top global adversary throughout his term in office. According to the DOD report, the PRC is working toward “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” by 2049 and has also been working on vastly expanding its nuclear arsenal. 

The president has long defended his withdrawal handling during and after the process. He argued there were no clean ways to end U.S. deployment to the region. 

“We have admitted and acknowledged that not everything about the withdrawal was done perfectly, that there were certainly mistakes made,” said Kirby. “We’ve investigated those mistakes. We owned up for those.”

Kirby was further pressed on Afghanistan becoming a “terror haven” for al Qaeda and asked why Biden had not been briefed on the issue. At least 100 American citizens and thousands of Afghan allies were stranded in Afghanistan under Taliban rule after the U.S. withdrawal.