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EU lessons from the evacuation of Kabul: Part 1 – What went wrong? The decision-making moments

Afghanistan / REPORT
Mihai Sebastian Chihaia , Georg Riekeles

Date: 17/08/2023
What went wrong in Kabul and what were the critical junctures in the West’s decision-making? This Paper explores these two questions in detail. Two moments stand out in the chaotic evacuation from Kabul: the establishment of the military withdrawal schedule in mid-April and when all the countries involved scrambled to get their civilians out too.

What is clear is that EU institutions were not prepared and were equally blindsided by the speed of events and decisions. This Paper shows that the dereliction of prudence, planning and duty also extends to the EU.

This is the first paper of a three-part Report examining the evacuation of Kabul, and the combined failures of NATO and the EU, amid the war in Ukraine. The Report is structured in three parts:

  1. A description of the central decision moments leading up to and during the evacuation from Afghanistan.
  2. An assessment of the main factors contributing to failure in anticipation, planning and execution.
  3. Recommendations regarding the EU’s crisis management architecture and capacity in the context of the implementation of the Strategic Compass.

Read the full paper here.
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