The President’s hasty decision has left the American government’s Military and Foreign Service people scrambling…
And Afghan’s in harms way….
Biden and his national security team have been accused of abandoning those who risked their lives to help the U.S. military — and there are growing fears that once the final combat troops leave, those Afghans who are left behind will be tortured, killed or both.
That was a primary focus for the lawmakers who had gathered inside a secure room in the Capitol for their first of many opportunities to press Biden’s top deputies about their plans for Afghanistan and the intelligence assessments on the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground.
“Wouldn’t it have been prudent to have these plans in place before the withdrawal announcement?” another lawmaker asked during the briefing, according to the people in the room.
As the bipartisan criticism mounted, Biden ordered evacuation flights to begin at the end of this month for roughly 700 applicants and their family members, a total of up to 3,500 people, Tracey Jacobson, head of a new task force focused on the relocation effort, said in an interview this week at the group’s State Department headquarters.
The first of those Afghans arrived at Dulles airport outside Washington from Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul early Friday morning and were bussed to Fort Lee, an Army base in Virginia, where they will spend up to one week completing the final steps of their application process.
But many thousands remain all throughout Afghanistan, including in parts of the war-torn country that the Taliban now controls. And despite increasing public pressure and military gains by the Taliban, the State Department did not establish a task force until July 19 — far too late in the process, lawmakers say….