The state of affairs could consequence in a better counterterrorism risk, he acknowledged.
Senators have been additionally informed there are as many as 60,000 individuals who could probably qualify as Special Immigrant Visa holders or candidates, P1 and P2 visa holders, or others like human rights defenders and could want evacuation, two Senate aides mentioned. The White House didn’t return a request for touch upon these numbers.
The Biden administration has surged capability for evacuations, however a key problem can be whether or not individuals can get to Kabul, in accordance with one of many Senate aides, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Qatar and a few different international locations are being useful in housing individuals at the very least briefly. No agreements have been finalized but, although, a Democratic member who was briefed informed CNN.
The administration officers reiterated that the US is transferring the US embassy in Kabul to the Kabul airport and that Department of Defense is ramping up flights to evacuate American residents and Afghan companions. The officers additionally mentioned they made it clear they’d “respond” to any Taliban assaults on US forces throughout evacuation.
During a briefing for the House later in the morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy known as the state of affairs in Kabul “the worst outcome possible.”
“This is remnants of Vietnam, watching helicopters come off and fly by our embassy right now,” he mentioned, in accordance with a GOP supply on the decision. McCarthy added: “Yes, I have passion, I have anger. … For everyone who we promised we would protect, how are they ever going to get out of there as of today?”
Blinken repeated that the administration had little choice however to withdraw starting on May 1 due to a deal made by the Trump administration, which might have resulted in resumed assaults by the Taliban on US and coalition forces amid the militant group’s nationwide offensive.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned that whereas the Pentagon had been planning for “a number of potential outcomes,” the “lack of resistance that the Taliban faced from Afghan forces has been extremely disconcerting.”
“They had all the advantages, they had 20 years of training by our coalition forces, a modern air force, good equipment and weapons,” he mentioned, in accordance with sources on the decision. “But you can’t buy will and you can’t purchase leadership. And that’s really what was missing in this situation.”
CNN’s Chandelis Duster, Kevin Liptak and Jason Hoffman contributed to this report.
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