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Here’s what you need to know:President Biden is expected to announce that he plans to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times
The news that the Biden administration plans to withdraw all U.S. Troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks elicited a wide range of reactions in Washington — fitting for a conflict that has divided and befuddled the nation.
With a few exceptions, the response to the move was relatively muted, reflecting a war that over time evolved from searing, front-page news into a lower-grade, if always deadly, war that many Americans forgot was being waged.
The decision will keep more than 3,000 American troops on the ground in Afghanistan beyond the May 1 withdrawal deadline announced by the administration of former President Donald J. Trump.
But it signals what Mr. Biden plans to present as a definitive end to America’s “Forever War.”
Administration officials said that since Mr. Biden was fixing a definite date on an American troop withdrawal, he hoped to avoid an increase in violence — which the Taliban have threatened if the United States kept troops beyond May 1. Eddie Van Halen Hawaiian Shirt
Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a moderate New Hampshire Democrat who backed the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq nearly two decades ago, criticized President Biden, arguing his decision could embolden the Taliban to further destabilize the country.
“I’m very disappointed in @POTUS’ decision to set a Sept. Deadline to walk away from Afghanistan. Although this decision was made in coordination w/our allies, the U.S. Has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave w/o verifiable assurances of a secure future,” Ms. Shaheen wrote on Twitter shortly after the president announced he would withdraw all troops by Sept. 11, 2021.
A new intelligence report released Tuesday offered a grim assessment of Afghanistan and the prospects for peace. “The Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support,” the report said.
Other Democrats, who were more critical of the war, applauded the announcement.
“President Biden recognizes the reality that our continued presence there does not make the U.S. Or the world safer,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote in a statement. “Year after year, military leaders told Congress and the American people that we were finally turning the corner in Afghanistan, but ultimately we were only turning in a vicious circle.”
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, applauded Mr. Biden on Twitter for what he described as “the brave and right decision to withdraw U.S. Troops from Afghanistan and bring an end to the longest war in our country’s history.”
Conspicuously quiet, however, were some of the highest-ranking Democrats on congressional committees overseeing the deployment of troops and policy in the region.
Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has not yet commented on the announcement because he is waiting for an official administration briefing on the details, his office said.
Representative Adam Smith, Democrat of Washington and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has also yet to comment, although he recently told an interviewer that his concerns were “purely logistical,” rather than opposing the idea of a total drawdown.
Early on in the Obama administration, Mr. Biden unsuccessfully lobbied President Barack Obama to reject the advice of generals who convinced him to increase troop deployments to deal with the insurgency.
Among the most striking similarities between former President Donald J. Trump and Mr. Biden is their shared commitment — expressed in vastly different ways — to withdrawing U.S. Troops as quickly as possible.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have sharply divided the Republican Party in recent years. A substantial number of Republicans bucked Mr. Trump on the issue, and still believe a robust presence in the region is needed to preserve stability.
Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, blasted the policy shift as a capitulation.
“Wars don’t end when one side abandons the fight,” she said in a statement that echoed her father’s hawkish rhetoric in selling the wars at the start. “Withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 will only embolden the very jihadists who attacked our homeland on that day 20 years ago.”
Protestors stormed the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol. The inspector general for the Capitol Police, Michael A. Bolton, criticized the agency’s preparation for potential violence on Jan. 6 in a new report.Credit…Jason Andrew for The New York Times
The Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about the Jan. 6 attack than were previously known, including the potential for violence in which “Congress itself is the target.” But officers were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob, according to a scathing new report by the agency’s internal investigator.
In a 104-page report, the inspector general, Michael A. Bolton, criticized the way the Capitol Police prepared for and responded to the mob violence on Jan. 6. The report was reviewed by The New York Times and will be the subject of a Capitol Hill hearing on Thursday.
Mr. Bolton found that the agency’s leaders failed to adequately prepare despite explicit warnings that pro-Trump extremists posed a threat to law enforcement and civilians and that the police used defective protective equipment. He also found that the leaders ordered their Civil Disturbance Unit to refrain from using its most powerful crowd-control tools — like stun grenades — to put down the onslaught.
The report offers the most devastating account to date of the lapses and miscalculations around the most violent attack on the Capitol in two centuries.
Three days before the siege, a Capitol Police intelligence assessment warned of violence from supporters of President Donald J. Trump who believed his false claims that the election had been stolen. Some had even posted a map of the Capitol complex’s tunnel system on pro-Trump message boards.
“Unlike previous postelection protests, the targets of the pro-Trump supporters are not necessarily the counterprotesters as they were previously, but rather Congress itself is the target on the 6th,” the threat assessment said, according to the inspector general’s report.
But on Jan. 5, the agency wrote in a plan for the protest that there were “no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.” And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was “improbable.”
Mr. Bolton concluded such intelligence breakdowns stemmed from dysfunction within the agency.
That failure conspired with other lapses inside the Capitol Police force to create a dangerous situation on Jan. 6, according to his account. The agency’s Civil Disturbance Unit, which specializes in handling large groups of protesters, was not allowed to use some of its most powerful tools and techniques against the crowd, on the orders of supervisors.
“Heavier, less-lethal weapons,” including stun grenades, “were not used that day because of orders from leadership,” Mr. Bolton wrote. Officials on duty on Jan. 6 told him that such equipment could have helped the force to “push back the rioters.”
Mr. Bolton’s findings are scheduled to be discussed on Thursday afternoon, when he is scheduled to testify before the House Administration Committee.
CNN first reported on a summary of the latest findings.
The Justice Department is investigating the involvement of Representative Matt Gaetz, center, and Joel Greenberg with multiple women who were recruited online for sex. Officials are also investigating whether the two men had sex with a 17-year-old girl.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
A former local official in Florida indicted in the Justice Department investigation that is also focused on Representative Matt Gaetz has been providing investigators with information since last year about an array of topics, including Mr. Gaetz’s activities, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Joel Greenberg, a onetime county tax collector, disclosed to investigators that he and Mr. Gaetz had encounters with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex, the people said. The Justice Department is investigating the involvement of the men with multiple women who were recruited online for sex and received cash payments and whether the men had sex with a 17-year-old in violation of sex trafficking statutes, people familiar with the inquiry have said.