US sets up commission to assess Afghanistan failures

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 16, 2021, 10:21 AM(IST)

President Joe Biden, whose controversial withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan ended America's longest war, is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act. Photograph:( AFP )

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The commission was given a deadline to produce a preliminary report within one year of its first meeting, followed by a final report within three years

Taking note of the Taliban's victory over the US military in Afghanistan, the US Congress voted on Wednesday to create a commission to assess the 20-year war's failures.

After similar overwhelming approval last week by the House of Representatives, the Senate passed the $768 billion annual defence package 89-10. 

President Joe Biden, whose controversial withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan ended America's longest war, is expected to sign the National Defense Authorization Act.

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The Commission on Afghanistan will consist of 16 members appointed by the two major parties. It was given a deadline to produce a preliminary report within one year of its first meeting, followed by a final report within three years.

"The Commission shall conduct a comprehensive assessment of the war in Afghanistan and make recommendations to inform future operations with tactical and strategic lessons learned, including the impact of troop increases and decreases and date-certain deadlines," the legislation said.

After taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama sent tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan, but later withdrew most of them. 

During the administration of his successor Donald Trump, a deal was then negotiated with the Taliban that set a May 2021 deadline for the departure of US troops.

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In addition, the commission will examine George W. Bush's launch of the war and US policy toward Afghanistan before 2001, when the September 11 attacks triggered the US invasion that overthrew the Taliban's draconian rule.

Taiwan also received strong congressional support in the National Defense Authorization Act amid rising tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

A provision of the act calls on the United States to develop Taiwan's asymmetric defence capabilities and to invite Taiwan to participate in the Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2022, a major US-led exercise that takes place every two years around Hawaii.

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As a result of the bill, US defence spending will increase by $28 billion from last year, most of the increase not requested by the Biden administration.

It includes a raise of 2.7 per cent for both military service members and civilian workers at the Defense Department.

(With inputs from agencies)

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