Biden says he pushed back on Obama adminisration over Afghanistan

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Democratic debate Buttigieg, Warren square off on donors at Democratic debate Battle for Iowa takes center stage at Democratic debate MORE on Thursday night said he pushed back on the Obama administration’s surge of troops in Afghanistan beginning in 2009, calling nation building a mistake and unachievable.

“I was sent by the president before we got sworn in to Afghanistan to come back with a report. I said there was no comprehensive policy available and then I got in a big fight for a long time with the Pentagon because I strongly opposed the nation building notion we set about. Rebuilding that country as a whole nation is beyond our capacity.”

At Thursday evening’s Democratic primary debate, PBS NewsHour correspondent Amna Nawaz quoted from The Washington Post’s series of articles last week that revealed that for years, senior officials misled the public about the war in Afghanistan.

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Pressed about the contents of the report — in which a senior national security official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House to produce figures showing the troop surge was working despite evidence to the contrary — Biden insisted that from the start he “was on the opposite side of that from the Pentagon.”

“I’m the guy from the beginning who argued that it was a big, big mistake to surge forces to Afghanistan. Period. We should not have done it. And I argued against it constantly.”

Biden said the United States should instead have an anti-terrorism policy with a small footprint that has U.S. special forces to deal with potential threats.

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