In December of 2021, I asked Ambassador Dan Smith to lead an After Action Review of the Department of State’s execution of its duties related to ending the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. The After Action Review covers the period from January 2020 to the end of August 2021 and the completion of the U.S. military withdrawal. I directed this review because I believe we have an obligation to our workforce, our institution, our partners in Congress, and the American people to learn from the lessons of this chapter in U.S. foreign policy.
The After Action Review, which we are now making available to relevant Congressional committees, produced a series of findings on how the Department planned for and carried out its missions during this period. It also provided detailed recommendations that we are already taking steps to implement. These include strengthening the Department’s overall contingency planning, crisis preparedness, and response capabilities.
The State Department’s greatest asset is its people, including an extraordinary group of dedicated and talented professionals who worked tirelessly on the ground in Kabul, in Washington, and at other sites domestically and abroad to evacuate and assist as many people as possible during that period. Their efforts, and the efforts of all from our Department who served in Afghanistan over two decades as well our Afghan partners who served alongside them, deserve our highest praise and gratitude, and we continue to honor them through our work going forward.