An unnamed Biden administration official has described the precise moment in the White House Situation Room when it became clear that the pullout from Afghanistan had descended into a full-blown crisis. Politico has published a breathless account of the past two weeks, reporting on how the White House responded hour-to-hour as the Taliban seized power. An unnamed official described a Situation Room meeting shortly after dawn last Thursday when Biden’s national-security cabinet was informed that Kabul looked set to fall to the Taliban “within weeks or days.” The official told Politico: “It was a pretty sobering meeting... We thought we had months ahead of us to draw down the embassy and do processing and relocation.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recommended that troops would be urgently sent in to evacuate the embassy and secure the main international airport in Kabul. The official described that warning as the “oh, shit” moment, when the cabinet realized that a crisis had begun.
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