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- Joe Biden has not visited Afghanistan or Iraq while president.
President Joe Biden mentioned his travels through war zones and the Middle East during a summit about veterans health care at the Delaware National Guard headquarters.
The facility is named for Biden’s late son Beau, who served in Iraq with the Guard.
"I’ve been in and out — not as a, obviously, combatant — but in and out of Afghanistan, Iraq and those areas, 38, 39 times," he said Dec. 16. "Not as president; only twice as president."
Biden’s description of his travels to the two countries has not held up under scrutiny.
In his 2022 State of the Union address, Biden said: "I’ve been in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan over 40 times."
We rated his statement False. The actual number was about half that, including visits while he was vice president and senator.
He had not been to either country as president before that March 1 speech, and that remains unchanged.
The White House referred us to the National Security Council, which did not reply to our requests for information.
Afghanistan has become more unstable during Biden’s time as president, given that U.S. troops were at war there until he oversaw the completion of their withdrawal. The country fell into chaos and Taliban control in August 2021, as the U.S. completed its withdrawal, begun under former President Donald Trump.
In our earlier review of Biden’s travels, we found the last time Biden visited Iraq was in 2016, when he was vice president.
His last trip to Afghanistan was in 2011 for meetings about drawing down U.S. forces.
As for Biden’s reference to "those areas," Biden has visited the Middle East twice as president.
In July, Biden took a trip to Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia that included a summit in Saudi Arabia for Arab leaders. High gasoline prices in the U.S. at the time were believed to be one reason for the visit to Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s biggest oil producers. Biden also met with Israeli officials to maintain U.S.-Israel ties and with Palestinan officials for diplomatic reasons.
In November, Biden went to Cairo and addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Iraq and Saudi Arabia share a border. Another Middle Eastern nation, Iran, shares a border with Afghanistan, but Afghanistan is more than 2,000 miles away from Egypt.
Biden said he has been to "Afghanistan, Iraq and those areas" twice as president.
As president, he has not visited either country.
We rate Biden’s statement False.
RELATED: Fact-checks on and about Joe Biden
Interview, Republican National Committee spokesperson Nathan Brand, Dec. 19, 2022
YouTube, The White House "President Biden Delivers Remarks at a Delaware Veterans Summit and PACT Act Town Hall" post, (29:10) Dec. 16, 2022
The White House, "Remarks by President Biden at a Delaware Veterans Summit and PACT Act Town Hall, New Castle, DE," Dec. 16, 2022
PBS Newshour, "Biden urges veterans to seek health benefits under new PACT Act," Dec. 16, 2022
PolitiFact, "Biden exaggerates trips to Iraq, Afghanistan in State of the Union address," March 3, 2022
Washington Post, "Biden says U.S. will ‘do our part to avert’ a ‘climate hell’ during address in Egypt," Nov. 11, 2022
Townhall, "Let's Talk About Joe Biden's Millionth Embarrassing Gaffe," Dec. 18, 2022
State Department, "Countries and Areas," accessed Dec. 19, 2022
WorldAtlas.com, "How Many Countries Are There In The Middle East?", Oct. 3, 2020
Daily Mail, "In the firing line again: Biden lies again about the number of times he's visited Afghanistan and Iraq - and claims his uncle won a Purple Heart in World War II when no such record exists," posted Dec. 16, 2022; updated Dec. 17, 2022
Fox News, "Biden exaggerates his visits to Iraq and Afghanistan at veterans town hall in Delaware," Dec. 16, 2022
Email, Will Todman, fellow in the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dec. 19, 2022
Email, Marvin Weinbaum, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan studies at the Middle East Institute, Dec. 19, 2022
New York Times, "Biden in Saudi Arabia — U.S. won’t let China and Russia dominate Mideast, Biden tells Arab leaders," posted July 16, 2022; updated July 19, 2022
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