From the looks of it you’d think Biden’s State Department was doing just fine, moving along as if their military decisions in Afghanistan didn’t result in the untimely death of 13 U.S. servicemen and countless Afghan civilians.
The botched Afghanistan withdrawal mission has been completely erased from the national conversation, but State Department sources are singing a different tune.
The disorganized process of attempting to get Americans and other allies out of Afghanistan led many within the State Department to suffer a crisis of mental health, according to State Department employees.
One official revealed that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was “extremely demoralizing,” noting that the “experience broke a lot of people.” The official said the department was “inundated by personal requests to help specific people” but remained “powerless to do anything” to help.
Staffers described being “manic” or suffering “a complete mental breakdown” while the chaotic withdrawal unfolded, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.
Another official revealed a story of a phone conversation they had with an Afghan father where the Taliban could be heard banging on his door.
“It’s so scary. You don’t know if you’re going to be on the phone with someone when they get shot,” the official said.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reportedly offered, during the evacuation, to provide mental health assistance to State Department staffers due to the level of stress they were undergoing on the job.
“I have heard a number of State Dept staff are experiencing much distress over calls they are receiving for assistance from people feeling stranded in Afghanistan,” VA acting Undersecretary of Health Steven Lieberman wrote to a handful of top State Department officials.
Lieberman offered mental health assistance to distressed State Department officials, an offer Blinken turned down, which one employee described as “really disturbing” and “a disgrace.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the health, safety and well-being of department personnel and their families were top priorities. He said staffers were offered a variety of resources but acknowledged that they might have missed notices on mental health because of the volume of information being sent their way.
“The mental health ramifications of the Afghanistan evacuation are not over — we expect employees to potentially have adverse mental health in the months and years to come,”
Author: Asa McCue