New documents show that the Biden Administration was almost completely unprepared to evacuate Afghan nationals who aided America during the conflict.
The documents show that the National Security Council had a meeting on August 14 at 3:30. Kabul fell to the Taliban just hours later.
NSC Official Liz Sherwood-Randall chaired the meeting along with other senior officials, including Gen. John Hyten.
The subject of the notes was “Summary of Conclusions for DSG Meeting on Relocations out of Afghanistan.”
Action items include: “State will work to identify as many countries as possible to serve as transit points. Transit points need to be able to accommodate U.S. citizens, Afghan nationals, third-country nationals, and other evacuees. (Action: State, immediately)”
“Embassy Kabul will notify LES [locally employed staff] to begin to register their interest in relocation to the United States and begin to prepare immediately for departure… (Action: Embassy Kabul, immediately)”
NSC’s Emily Horne spoke to Axios, commenting that the meeting notes were not an accurate portrayal of the months of preparation that went into the evacuation of Kabul.
“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,” Horne said to Axios.
“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,” she continued.
“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.”
Matt Zeller, a former CIA officer, said that the White House was “most concerned” with the optics of a “chaotic evacuation.”
Deputy NATO representative Mark Jacobson told Axios “That so much planning, prioritizing and addressing of key questions had not been completed, even as Kabul was about to fall, underscores the absence of adequate interagency planning. This is especially surprising given the depth of experience on Afghanistan and contingency operations at that table.”