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New Congressional Report: U.S.-Trained Afghan Special Forces Forced to Flee to Iran

They could divulge sensitive U.S. military training and intelligence to Tehran, a U.S. lawmaker warns.

By , a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy, and , Foreign Policy’s Pentagon and national security reporter.

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After the collapse of the Afghan government, thousands of Afghan military personnel—including a number of elite U.S.-trained Afghan commandos—were forced to flee to Iran, potentially delivering closely guarded secrets on U.S. special operators into the hands of a top rival in the Middle East.

Leaving Afghanistan

The plight of commandos forced to flee to Iran is one of many revelations made in a congressional investigation by a top Republican lawmaker into the final days of the war in Afghanistan and chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Kabul as the Taliban took control of the country almost one year ago.

The report by Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, portrayed a U.S. State Department that was ill-prepared for the rapid collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021 and ill-suited to help manage a massive airlift evacuation in the ensuing chaos. “Today, we’re still reeling from the damage that was done last August, including emboldening and empowering our foreign adversaries,” McCaul said in an interview.

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