Rep. Adam Schiff on Afghan crisis: This looks like a ‘military planning failure’

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Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., rejected President Biden’s assertion that the ongoing chaos that has erupted in Afghanistan amid the military withdrawal was inevitable.

“I don’t think we can accept as a premise that the chaos we saw particularly very early but which has continued, was inevitable,” Schiff said on Tuesday during an interview on MSNBC. “There were going to be difficulties, yes, when we drew out. But I think there should have been better planning involved in the evacuation, in the drawdown. We’re looking now at the intelligence and, you know, the intelligence over the last six months was increasingly pessimistic about the Afghan government’s ability to maintain itself.”

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“I’m not ready to reach a conclusion- certainly none of the intelligence suggested it would collapse overnight the way it did within a matter of days that Kabul would fall, but nonetheless, you would presume that there would be military planning along any foreseeable contingency to avoid this kind of difficulty where we would have thousands of Americans who are at risk of being stranded,” Schiff continued.

When asked by MSNBC host Ari Melber if he thought the issue was the “military planning” or whether it was the “decision-making process” of President Biden, Schiff responded by expressing support for the decision to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan but still indicated that things went awry in the planning.

“To me, and this is a first impression at this point, this looks like a planning failure, a military planning failure as to how we evacuate our personnel,” Schiff told Melber. “There may be more responsibility than that to go around, not just to lay it at the feet of the military, but it seems to me the military generally draws up plans for every contingency- there’s nothing but plans on the shelf about what might happen- and how to use the best military- the best-equipped military in the world, to move our people and our friends who risk their lives with us out. And I can’t imagine that we didn’t have a plan for a rapid collapse.”

“So, we’re going to have to do an extensive look not just the last two weeks but in the last 20 years and why after all that blood and treasure, we succeeded in protecting the country from another 9/11 but we failed to stand up the government that the Afghans would fight for,” Schiff added.

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On Monday, the House Intel Committee chairman expressed doubt that the Biden administration will meet its own August 31 withdrawal deadline following a meeting with top officials.

“I think it’s very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIVs, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders, it’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” Schiff told the press.

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