The timeline for who knew what and when is becoming clear – and it’s incredibly discouraging.
On July 13th, 23 U.S. Embassy staffers sent a signed cable to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Director of Policy Planning Salman Ahmed. The message was sent through the Dissent Channel; a messaging network open to Foreign Service Officers in the event they wish to express criticism on foreign policy. Only about four or five messages are sent a year.
But this was a big one.
“The classified cable represents the clearest evidence yet that the administration had been warned by its own officials on the ground that the Taliban’s advance was imminent and Afghanistan’s military may be unable to stop it,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
This information contradicts Biden’s comments from July, when he called a Taliban takeover “highly unlikely,” reassuring critics by pointing to the large number of Afghan National Security Force members outfitted with top of the line U.S military equipment.
The Afghan forces fell and the equipment now belongs to the Taliban.
According to the WSJ, “the actions ultimately taken by the administration were even more drastic than what embassy staffers recommended in the internal memo a month earlier.” But the fact remains that Biden was talking out of both sides of his mouth. Was a total collapse likely or highly-unlikely? Were there warning signs or not?
15,000 Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan, and even more U.S. allies who put their lives on the line. The Biden administration owes them transparency – and an explanation – on this issue: Who knew what and when?
[h/t Wall Street Journal]