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Notes reveal Biden admin wasn’t prepared for Afghan evacuation before fall of Kabul

Leaked documents allegedly show the White House wasn’t prepared to evacuate Afghanistan citizens just hours before the Taliban took control of the country’s capital.

Notes of a Situation Room meeting obtained by Axios show Biden administration officials scrambled at the last minute to solidify a plan as Taliban forces swiftly seized power in the country during a US withdrawal.

A National Security Council summary of conclusions on “Relocations out of Afghanistan” shows the outcome of an Aug. 14, 2021 meeting of aides to top administration officials as they tried to outline key exit-plan details one day before the Taliban took control of Kabul, Axios reported.

“State will work to identify as many countries as possible to serve as transit points. Transit points need to be able to accommodate US citizens, Afghan nationals, third country nationals, and other evacuees,” the summary said, according to Axios, then added in bold, “(Action: State, immediately)”

The summary says Embassy Kabul would tell locally employed staff to “begin to register their interest” in relocation to the US and prepare “immediately” for departure, the site said.

President Biden previously claimed the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan was an “extraordinary success.”
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Taliban fighters escort women march in support of the Taliban government outside Kabul University, Afghanistan, on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Taliban insurgents captured Kabul and seized the presidential palace last August.
AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

The meeting was chaired by the NSC’s Liz Sherwood-Randall and also included Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten, according to Axios.

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NSC spokesperson Emily Horne told the publication it wouldn’t comment on leaked documents, but said “cherry-picked notes from one meeting do not reflect the months of work” underway at the time.

“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,” Horne told Axios.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, outgoing commander of US Strategic Command, speaks during a change of command ceremony at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.
Leaked documents reportedly showed that Gen. John Hyten was also involved in the meeting in question.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File

“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.”

The massive exit operation took place from Aug. 14 through Aug. 31 as the Taliban forces regained their foothold across the country after 20 years of war.

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