The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee said Monday evening that the Afghanistan evacuation likely will not be completed by the Aug. 31 deadline set by the Biden administration and the victorious Taliban militia.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California made the remarks to reporters after leaving a classified intelligence briefing.
“I think it’s possible but I think it’s very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated,” he said, according to reports by Reuters news agency and elsewhere.
“Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of [Special Immigrant Visa holders], 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,” Mr. Schiff added.
According to CNN, Mr. Schiff also pushed back against claims by President Biden and some members of his administration that the Afghan government collapsed more quickly than anyone had anticipated, or reasonably could have.
The California Democrat said after the classified briefing that in recent months, “the intelligence agencies assessments of the Afghan government’s ability to maintain itself became increasingly pessimistic over the course of the last six months.”
He added that “there were any number of warnings that the Taliban might take over, and some that included a potential of a very rapid” takeover.
Rep. Jason Crow, Colorado Democrat, spoke similarly Monday evening about intelligence assessment of the Afghanistan situation.
“I do not believe at this point, sitting here today, that I have any evidence of an intelligence failure,” he said.