House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has requested an all-members briefing on Afghanistan from the Biden administration during the week of Aug. 23, when members return from recess, according to a Pelosi aide.
What we know: The United States is withdrawing personnel from its embassy in Kabul amid the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, leaving only “a core diplomatic presence,” the Biden administration announced Thursday as more cities fell to the Taliban.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said 3,000 US troops are being deployed to assist with the drawdown, which is expected to be completed by the end of August.
Situation in Afghanistan is “a consequence of 20 years of American misjudgments,” says retired general
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme allied commander of NATO, attributed the current dire situation in Afghanistan to “20 years of American misjudgments, of poor prioritizations and failed policies.”
“For the Biden administration I think they reached the end of the road. It was clear that they weren’t going to be able to create or help create an Afghanistan government that supported its people. And without that government support, its military did not have the support of the people. And this is the consequence of it. It’s painful. It’s tragic,” Clark told CNN’s Jim Acosta.
Watch the full interview:
“The truth is that what’s happening today is a consequence of 20 years of American misjudgments, of poor prioritizations and failed policies,” says Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark on Taliban gains in Afghanistan and the US sending troops to assist with the departure of embassy staff.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 12, 2021
US tells Afghan president it remains “invested” in the country
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stressed to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani “that the United States remains invested in the security and stability of Afghanistan in the face of violence by the Taliban,” according to a State Department readout of their call Thursday.
“Secretary Blinken and Secretary Austin informed President Ghani that the United States is reducing our civilian footprint in Kabul in light of the evolving security situation and will accelerate the tempo of Special Immigration Visa (SIV) flights,” the readout from State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “The Secretaries both emphasized that the United States remains committed to maintaining a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan.”
An unnamed State Department spokesperson denied reports that Austin and Blinken asked Ghani to step down in order to facilitate a ceasefire and transitional government.
“The United States has not asked President Ghani to resign and rumors indicating we have done so are completely false,” this spokesperson said. “Decisions about who leads the country are for Afghans to make.
The fall of Kandahar would be seen as a “death knell” for Afghan forces, CNN’s Clarissa Ward says