Patterico's Pontifications


State Dept. Cable Warned Administration That Afghan Military Wouldn’t Be Able To Stop Taliban’s Advance

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:53 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is just damning:

An internal State Department memo last month warned top agency officials of the potential collapse of Kabul soon after the U.S.’s Aug. 31 troop withdrawal deadline in Afghanistan, according to a U.S. official and a person familiar with the document.

The classified cable represents the clearest evidence yet that the administration had been warned by its own officials on the ground that the Taliban’s advance was imminent and Afghanistan’s military may be unable to stop it.

The cable, sent via the State Department’s confidential dissent channel, warned of rapid territorial gains by the Taliban and the subsequent collapse of Afghan security forces, and offered recommendations on ways to mitigate the crisis and speed up an evacuation, the two people said.

The cable, dated July 13, also called for the State Department to use tougher language in describing the atrocities being committed by the Taliban, one of the people said.

Even in early mid-July, the administration had a very good idea of what was going to happen, and yet they were unprepared. White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich reports that the White House takes issue with the cable’s warning date:

the Biden administration is disputing the notion this confidential cable warned of the events we saw play out —

A source notes, the cable says Kabul could fall “shortly AFTER the US leaves on 8/31” – not a warning it could happen in early August

On a side note, it’s particularly galling that the State Dept. had to be asked to use tougher language with regard to the atrocities being committed by the Taliban. Hopefully, no one believes the Taliban’s claim that:

…there will be no revenge attacks on those who worked for the government or its security services, and that “life, property and honor” will be respected. They are urging Afghans to remain in the country and have pledged to create a “secure environment” for businesses, embassies, and foreign and local charities.

Because anyone who does is a fool:

The Taliban have stepped up their search for people who worked for Nato forces or the previous Afghan government, a UN document has warned.

It said the militants have been going door-to-door to find targets and threatening their family members.

The hardline Islamist group has tried to reassure Afghans since seizing power, promising there would be “no revenge”.

But there are fears the Taliban have changed little since the brutal 1990s.

The warning the group were targeting “collaborators” came in a confidential document by the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, which provides intelligence to the UN.

“There are a high number of individuals that are currently being targeted by the Taliban and the threat is crystal clear,” Christian Nellemann, who heads the group behind the report, told the BBC.

And chillingly:

“It is in writing that, unless they give themselves in, the Taliban will arrest and prosecute, interrogate and punish family members on behalf of those individuals.”

He warned that anyone on the Taliban’s blacklist was in severe danger, and that there could be mass executions.

The Taliban is what it has always been:

Reports of violence and repression by Taliban militants are surfacing around Afghanistan, despite pledges by the group’s representatives that their leadership would be conciliatory and peaceful.

At least 12 people have been killed in and around Kabul airport alone since Sunday, when the Taliban entered the Afghan capital, NATO and Taliban officials said Thursday, as cited by Reuters. The deaths may have been caused by gunfire or stampede.

Beatings by Taliban fighters left some adults and at least one child injured and bleeding, according to reporting and photographs from NBC News and the Los Angeles Times. The Taliban deny their members’ involvement in the violence.

And surely, the Afghan people understand all too well the imminent threat of violence and even death they face now that the Taliban are in control. Because mothers don’t toss their babies over razor-wire fencing on the chance that British soldiers might care for them unless they are driven by an all-consuming fear of the terror that is to come.

President Biden is scheduled to address the nation at 1:00 pm tomorrow regarding the evacuation of Americans out of Afghanistan, and SIV applicants.


North Texas: Covid-19 Patients Vaccination Status Now Taken Into Consideration When Triaging Patients

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

I suspect we will start to see more of these decisions being made as Covid continues to surge throughout parts of the country, and resources become stretched. We are cautioned, however, that although vaccination status is now on the table in North Texas it should not be assumed that a non-vaccinated person will be denied care when competing with a vaccinated patient for an ICU bed. It will just be another factor taken into consideration, along with a patient’s underlying condition and the likelihood that a patient will get better and leave the hospital:

North Texas doctors have quietly developed a plan that seeks to prepare for the possibility that due to the COVID-19 surge the region will run out of intensive-care beds.

If that happens, for the first time, doctors officially will be allowed to take vaccination status of sick patients into account along with other triage factors to see who gets a bed.

A copy of an internal memo written by Dr. Robert Fine, co-chair of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force, was sent to members of the task force — and leaked to The Watchdog. It summarizes the latest work by the task force, a volunteer group that periodically updates medical guidelines for hospitals in our region. There are about 50 members from various hospitals in the group. Although their recommendations are not enforceable, the guidelines are generally followed.

The one-page summary memo is a “heads up” alert in the event things get worse, says Dr. Mark Casanova, director of clinical ethics for Baylor University Medical Center and a spokesperson for the task force. After Monday’s meeting, doctors had yet to make plans to inform the public.

“We’re trying to decide how to explain this addition to the public,” Casanova said.

Although doctors make triage decisions all the time, the proposed guideline addition is significant. Casanova predicted that if this change were copied by others medical care, for as long as the crisis persists, “is going to look and feel different for everybody who is alive right now in the United States of America.”

Cited concerns: This will hurt communities of color and lower-income Americans where there may be less availability/accessibility of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, Parkland Hospital employees, who are exhausted and stretched to the brink due to staffing shortage and a surge in patients, are pleading with residents to get vaccinated. Parkland’s chief of medicine said there were nearly 500 vacancies from a prolonged shortage made worse by the pandemic. Reinforcements are now headed toward the DFW area to help relieve the limited number of exhausted health care workers burnt out by the Delta variant surge in the region.

Given the limited beds, resources, and health care workers, it makes sense that a patient’s vaccination status now be factored into any decision-making made by those in charge. It’s unfortunate that this is where things are at now, but something’s got to give…


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