U.S. Secretary of State Blinken admitted reading warnings of the Taliban swiftly taking over Afghanistan in July as U.S. troops were pulling out.
Reportedly, on July 13, a group of U.S. diplomates sent the confidential cable through a dissent channel and recommended how to deal with the situation and accelerate evacuation.
CNN learned from two unnamed officials from the State Department that “the diplomats decided to send the dissent memo because they felt previous warnings and recommendations they had made were being ignored and labeled alarmist.”
Blinken admitted to reading the caution of Kabul falling when he and Gen. Mike Milley were briefing lawmakers about the post-Taliban takeover chaos engulfing the country on Friday.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) asked, “when he read the dissent cable that said the Taliban would take over Afghanistan quicker, Blinken said he read it in mid-July,” as Tweeted by Jake Sherman, founder of Punch Bowl News.
Even after reading the cable, Blinken continued to assure the public it was a far-fetched notion that Afghanistan would fall after the complete departure of U.S.-led NATO troops expected completion by the end of August. The withdrawal of the U.S. military was ahead of schedule as the Taliban moved to seize territory from the Afgan government, more than 90 percent complete by the time jihadis declared victory in Kabul.
Bilnken’s optimistic assessment has been proven consistently wrong, as acknowledged by Breitbart News earlier this week.
The secretary insisted the fall of Kabul was unlikely, even as U.S. intelligence agents sent warnings, including from his department, became even more pessimistic as the Afghan security forces were unable to stop, even though the American government had spent tens of billions and years to train and equip them. The Taliban quickly seized territory in recent months.
As Blinken echoed President Biden, denying the U.S. intelligence community assessed the likely collapse of Kabul last Sunday, the exact day the Taliban and jihadis swept the Afghan capital, the seat of the country’s government.
“[The U.S. intelligence community] did not reach that conclusion,” Blinken told CNN Sunday, insisting even after the terrorist group declared victory and the government collapsed that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
President Biden denied the U.S. intelligence community assessment that a Taliban victory was likely and told the reporters the same thing Blinken told CNN in early July.
“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” Biden said.
White House officials have refused to confirm if Biden was aware of the U.S. intelligence community’s predictions of the potential fall of the Afghan government.
It is apparent that Blinken received warnings from State Department intelligence agents and diplomats of the potential for Kabul to collapse one month before reality struck; the top diplomat chooses to say Afghanistan’s fall was unlikely.
In the wake of the Taliban takeover, news reports surfaced of warnings from the U.S. intelligence community in recent weeks regarding the swift fall of Kabul to the Taliban as province after province was conquered by the terrorist group.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported:
[A] C.I.A. report in July noted that the [Afghan] security forces and central government had lost control of the roads leading into Kabul and assessed that the viability of the central government was in serious jeopardy. Other reports by the State Department’s intelligence and research division also noted the failure of Afghan forces to fight the Taliban and suggested that the deteriorating security conditions could lead to the collapse of the government, according to [unnamed] government officials.
That same day, NBC News noted:
As the Taliban began seizing provinces across Afghanistan in recent weeks, the CIA’s intelligence assessments began to warn in increasingly stark terms about the potential for a rapid, total collapse of the Afghan military and government, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.
In the end, the CIA’s description of what a worst-case scenario could look like “was pretty close to what happened,” one former official briefed on the matter said.
By the time the Taliban entered Kabul, the U.S. military had completed its withdrawal “for all intents and purposes,” Politico reported early last month. In the days leading to the fall of Kabul, over 90 percent of withdrawal operations had been completed, the U.S. military officials said.