Morelle on Afghanistan: ‘I don’t think the Trump or Biden administration adequately prepared for this moment’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As tens of thousands of people try to flee Afghanistan, the United States is now tracking threats from ISIS against the airport in Kabul.

On Friday President Joe Biden gave an update on the state of the evacuation overseas in which he said we’ve made significant progress, and that the chaos in Kabul couldn’t have been avoided.

"There’s no way in which you’d be able to leave Afghanistan without there being some of what you’re seeing now," Biden said.

On Saturday News10NBC asked local Congressman Joe Morelle if he was satisfied by the president’s latest update.

"Without regard to what he said, the most important priority here, and I think he’s focused on it, the Defense Department’s focused on it, State Department’s focused on it… is getting American men and women in the armed forces out of Afghanistan," said Morelle.

Morelle and Biden seem to be aligned in that their priority is removing Americans and allies from the dangerous situation, however, Morelle thinks The White House did not prepare enough for the challenges of the mass evacuation despite knowing it was coming for a long time.

"I don’t think the Trump administration or the Biden administration adequately prepared for this moment,” said Morelle. “This withdrawal was announced many, many, many months ago, and I think all the way around people are gonna have to, at some point, answer for the operational challenges and the logistic challenges."

In Afghanistan, it’s still a dangerous scene at the Kabul airport as swarms of people try to escape the country, and the threat of the Taliban grows stronger. Biden says his administration is in “constant contact” with the Taliban.

"I think right now that there is an understanding by the Taliban that we’re going to get our forces out of there,” said Morelle. “And they should not in any way impede our efforts to get our folks out."

As far as Afghans who are U.S. allies, there have been discussions about expediting the SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) process, which has been known to take years. Morelle told News10NBC that the number of available SIVs has expanded, but he did not elaborate on the length of time it’s taking for them to get approved.

He said he’s currently in touch with a number of Rochester-based Afghan families who are trying to get loved ones to safety in the U.S.

For more information on applying for an SIV, click here.