Leaked Memo Confirms Biden Admistration Did Not Prepare For Aghanistan Withdrawal
Newly leaked notes taken during a White House Situation Room meeting as Taliban fighters gathered outside of Kabul, Afghanistan illustrates the Biden administration’s lack of preparedness to handle the ensuing evacuations.
The document was the meeting’s “summary of conclusions” and details how officials were still scrambling to work out simple details for a mass evacuation in Afghanistan. One note reveals that officials had not yet come to an agreement to contact locally employed staff to gauge interest levels “in relocation to the United States.
It also came to light that officials had not yet worked out what countries would be transit points for those evacuating from Afghanistan.
“State Department and DOD Department of Defense will begin planning transit processing for evacuees after departure from Kabul,” the document reads.
“The NSC staff will chair a small group discussion to explore ways to engage Canada and other third countries, such as North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, to host Afghan allies at risk … who have either not been vetted or received limited vetting,” was also written in the memo.
The meeting took place from 3:30-4:30 p.m., as documented by the note, according to the timeline, Taliban fighters had already reached the outskirts of Kabul. The very next day, Taliban fighters entered the city, declaring it the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
Many of the key points made during that meeting were labeled “Immediately,” indicating officials knew at that point, time was critical. While the Biden Administration did map out some plans prior to the fall of Kabul the document clearly shows that many critical plans were left until it was too late.
The Biden administration has been widely criticized for the chaotic end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan. Polls in the aftermath of the withdrawal indicated sinking numbers for the president, as well as many of his fellow Democrats blaming him for the disastrous execution.
The White House has said that no one expected Kabul to fall as quickly as it did, while the president has claimed his administration was “ready” for the Afghan government to fall almost immediately to the Taliban as the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, outside advisers were warning of the Taliban’s swift advance through the country far before the August 14 meeting.
“On the 13th of July, we offered to work with them to help evacuate our partners,” former CIA officer Matt Zeller, said. “We all saw this disaster coming before the inevitable occurred. They didn’t get back to us until Aug 15, the day Kabul fell.”
“They treated us like we were Chicken Little. They didn’t believe the sky was falling,” he added.
The NSC declined to comment “on leaked internal documents” while appearing to tout its Operation Allies Refuge that launched earlier that summer.
“While we’re not going to comment on leaked internal documents, cherry-picked notes from one meeting do not reflect the months of work that were already underway,” NSC spokesperson Emily Horne said. “Earlier that summer, we launched Operation Allies Refuge and had worked with Congress to pass legislation that gave us greater flexibility to quickly relocate Afghan partners.”
“It was because of this type of planning and other efforts that we were able to facilitate the evacuation of more than 120,000 Americans, legal permanent residents, vulnerable Afghans, and other partners,” she added.