State Department officials testify there were no plans for Afghanistan withdrawal

by ian

The Afghanistan withdrawal was worse than anyone expected, according to newly released testimony by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Top State Department officials in charge of the evacuation were flown into Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of Kabul. They were then thrown into the chaos with minimal debriefing or warning.

Ambassador John Bass, who led the State Department officials on the ground, told lawmakers the evacuation exceeded the scope and scale of any plans that officials might have previously contemplated.

According to the testimonies, the decisions were made minute-by-minute and changed frequently based on orders from Washington or Taliban obstructions. This included violence at the airport gates, where Taliban members hid within the crowds.

But the officials feared there would be an attack if they pushed their goalpost back from Aug 31, which led to even more rush.

The interviews undermine earlier State Department testimony that said planning for the evacuation began in April or May. The committee plans to release a full report of their investigation later this year.