🚨NEW, thread: Pentagon confirms to me the Department of Defense is preparing to house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations, immediately including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas.
Documents obtained from a source show DoD planning to potentially relocate up to 30,000 Afghan SIV applicants into the United States in the immediate future.
“The situation in Afghanistan may lead to DoS [Department of State] allowing Afghan SIV applicants to be moved to temporary housing locations while still being vetted for parolee status,” the document reads.
“We want to have capacity to get up to several thousand immediately, and want to be prepared for potential of tens of thousands,” Pentagon Spox John Kirby tells me. “Bliss & McCoy have capability right now – what’s advantageous is w/ a bit of work, could increase in short order.”
The move is a reversal from the Biden administration’s previous policy. On July 8th, President Biden told me the US government could not evacuate Afghan translators to the US to await visa processing like some migrants at the southern border.
“The law doesn’t allow that to happen. And that’s why we’re asking Congress to consider changing the law,” Biden said.
Kirby says American citizens will not be given priority evacuation over Afghan SIV applicants. “Once we get more airlift out of Kabul, we’re going to put as many people on those planes as we can. There will be a mix...
... not just American citizens, but perhaps some Afghan SIV applicants as well. We’re going to focus on getting people out of the country, then sorting it out at the next stop. It’s not going to be just Americans first, then SIV applicants," Kirby tells me.
Some 6,000 US troops are expected in Kabul with the objective of keeping the airport open to achieve that goal. Kirby tells me, "We are already basically in charge of air traffic control at the airport, so we’re going to be in oversight of the air ops for as long as we can."
The State Department will determine who is sent forward – the job of the military is to find facilities and infrastructure for refugees to sleep and receive food and medical care during processing.
The Pentagon is working closely with the State Department to find overseas and possibly domestic processing locations for additional Afghan refugees who do not qualify for SIV status, falling instead under P-2 and P-1 visas.
“Secretary Austin has made it very clear to the Department and to military leaders that he wants additional options,” Kirby said. “We all share a sense of urgency and we’re going to be leaning forward to help the State Department as much as we can.”
As for how much longer the military presence will remain tenable, Kirby says, “The President gave us August 31st as an end date, so that’s what we’re focused on.”

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More from @JacquiHeinrich

15 Sep
🚨NEW, THREAD with reporting from me and @JenGriffinFNC : Gen. Austin Miller, former Commander of US forces-Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a classified hearing yesterday he advised against the Afghanistan withdrawal, two sources confirm to me.
According to two members present for the hearing, Gen Miller passed his recommendations through the chain of command -- that the US should keep a level of troops on the ground (2500 was the number at the time) in order to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment.
Miller's view was troops should maintain holding pattern – potentially supplemented by add'l forces from allied nations – given the threat. Miller shared no recommendation on how long forces should have stayed, making clear he didn’t know what the end timeline would be.
Read 11 tweets
21 Aug
🚨BREAKING, thread:

The State Department has been hit by a cyber attack, and notifications of a possible serious breach were made by the Department of Defense Cyber Command.
It is unclear when the breach was discovered, but it is believed to have happened a couple weeks ago.

A source familiar tells Fox the State Department’s ongoing mission to evacuate Americans and allied refugees in Afghanistan “have not been affected”.
The extent of the breach, investigation into the suspected entity behind it, efforts taken to mitigate it, and any ongoing risk to operations remains unclear.

A DoS spox tells me:
Read 6 tweets
19 Aug
🚨NEW, thread: my colleague @RichEdsonDC confirms WSJ reporting, that about two dozen State Dept officials in Kabul sent a memo to Blinken, other top officials July 13th, warning of potential Kabul collapse soon after withdrawal deadline, offering recs on mitigation & speedy evac
The confidential cable constitutes the clearest proof the Biden administration had been warned by its officials the Afghan military may not be able to hold off Taliban takeover - casting questions on POTUS claim
President Biden said to ABC in his ONLY q&a since the Taliban took the country, "The intelligence community did not say back in June or July that this is gonna collapse like it did."
Read 6 tweets
19 Aug
New, THREAD from @RichEdsonDC, via 2 sources:

- 6,741 evacuated since Sat. Although John Kirby said he did not have a breakdown, officials say 1792 are American citizens or legal permanent residents.
-There is major crowding at the north and east gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA). As of this morning, the north gate was temporarily shut. The administration is finally acknowledging the problem is getting people to the airport. @RichEdsonDC
-John Bass, the former US ambassador to Afghanistan, is trying to negotiate with the Taliban to facilitate safe passage to the airport. He’s also going to negotiate to get any Americans who may be outside of Kabul to HKIA for flights out of the country. @RichEdsonDC
Read 4 tweets
17 Aug
THREAD: From National Security Correspondent @JenGriffinFNC, via a well-placed source who spoke to Afghans at Presidential palace after Kabul fell to Taliban. Her source tells her:
1) “This happened so fast. None of us factored in the moral blow the US withdrawal would have on the Afghan National Army.”
2) The fall of the district capitals had a “domino effect.” People started cutting local deals with the Taliban.
“The Taliban had planned this really well. Not a force coming through the country that could be stopped. They were already there” in the provinces.
Read 13 tweets
16 Aug
THREAD: Fox confirms @SpeakerPelosi has circulated White House talking points on Afghanistan. Some highlights:
- “Many have asked why we did not evacuate more Afghan civilians sooner. Part of this answer is that many did not want to leave earlier. Many Afghans to whom we gave visas to come to the US chose to stay in their country, still hopeful"
-"When Trump made the Doha agreement, there were 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan. When POTUS took office, Trump had drawn down troops to 2500. It's clear from the past few weeks that would have been necessary [to send more troops] ."
Read 5 tweets

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