US Diplomats Warned State Dept of Swift Taliban Takeover in July

( A stunning report from the Wall Street Journal last Thursday revealed that back in July, US diplomats at the Kabul embassy sent a classified memo to Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning that the Afghan government was at risk of collapse and urging the State Department to step up efforts to expedite Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) for Afghan allies.

This memo was sent through the State Department’s Dissent Channel on July 13 – just five days after President Biden expressly denied that a Taliban takeover was inevitable. According to one source, the cable was immediately brought to the attention of Secretary of State Blinken.

Nearly two dozen embassy staffers signed on to the dissent cable – a rarely utilized forum for foreign service officers to raise internal concerns regarding US policy. The memo predicted that the Afghan government would collapse shortly after the president’s deadline for withdrawal was met.

When the story broke, State Department spokesman Ned Price refused to comment on the contents of the cable, saying that dissent cables are “strictly between” the State Department leadership and the cable’s authors.

But this July 13 dissent cable flies in the face of the Biden administration’s claim that nobody anticipated the rapid takeover by the Taliban once the US withdrew. Clearly those on the ground in Afghanistan knew it was coming.

The memo also urged the Biden administration to use stronger language to condemn the Taliban’s atrocities committed as they swept through Afghanistan’s northern provinces. Of central concern to these diplomats was the lack of action from Washington to safely remove those Afghan allies who worked with US forces during the 20 year conflict.

After he read the dissent cable, Secretary Blinken reportedly said that the concerns voiced in the memo reflected much of the State Department’s thinking.

To this day, President Biden continues to deny that his administration had any notion that the Taliban would so easily take over Afghanistan while simultaneously making the contradictory claim that the chaos that ensued was anticipated.

According to the WSJ report, the day after receiving the cable, the White House announced Operation Allies Refuge. However, these evacuations of Afghan allies did not ramp up until the week before Kabul fell.