Deputy NSA Finer: Cable Warning of Afghanistan Collapse ‘Reflects What We’ve Said’ That Nobody Got It ‘Exactly Right’

On Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer said that a State Department cable that was first reported on by The Wall Street Journal warning about a rapid collapse of Afghanistan’s government after the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country “reflects what we’ve said all along, which is nobody had this exactly right in predicting the government and army of Afghanistan were going to collapse in a matter of days.”

Finer said, “I’ll let the State Department speak to the details of the dissent cable, but I will mention a few key points. One is that the cable, as I understand it, predicted the potential fall of the Afghan government in the aftermath of a U.S. troop drawdown on August 31. Obviously, that all happened even more quickly than the cable — which was quite concerned about this possibility — projected. The second thing the cable asked for was evacuation flights by the U.S. government of Special Immigrant Visa applicants, Afghans who worked alongside our mission in Afghanistan. They asked for those to begin by August 1. We began those flights in July. And so, look, I think what we’ve said all along is that when we are assessing the situation in Afghanistan, we take a number of inputs. We get intelligence. We get diplomatic reporting from our embassies in the field. We read open-source reporting and watch the reports of our news organizations like CNN and we make the best assessment that we can. And I think the cable reflects what we’ve said all along, which is nobody had this exactly right in predicting the government and army of Afghanistan were going to collapse in a matter of days.”

He added that while “a degree of turbulence” is unavoidable when a country collapses like Afghanistan did, “we had a plan in place for this eventuality.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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