Biden Official Expresses Concerns for Women in Afghanistan in Deleted Tweet

In a now-deleted tweet an official serving in President Joe Biden's State Department raised her personal concerns about the women of Afghanistan as the Taliban continues to make rapid gains and takeover large swaths of the country in the wake of the withdrawal of U.S. forces there.

Molly Montgomery, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, on Friday morning tweeted her concerns for the women of Afghanistan but later deleted the post. According to the State Department website, Montgomery formerly worked at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, as well as multiple other Foreign service postings.

"Woke up with a heavy heart, thinking about all the Afghan women and girls I worked with during my time in Kabul. They were the beneficiaries of many of the gains we made, and now they stand to lose everything. We empowered them to lead, now we are powerless to protect them," Montgomery wrote in the since-deleted Twitter post.

This deleted tweet from a senior Biden State Department official captures the private feelings of many others.

— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) August 13, 2021

A source at the State Department told Newsweek Montgomery deleted the tweet of her own volition and was not asked to remove the post.

The concerns from the high-ranking State Department official have been echoed by many in Washington and across the country. The Taliban has moved rapidly to retake large portions of Afghanistan as the U.S. and its allies have withdrawn their remaining troops in the country.

The Biden administration has appeared surprised by how rapidly Taliban forces have overrun the U.S.-backed Afghan security forces. The Washington Post reported that military and intelligence officials have said the capital Kabul, and the U.S.-backed government there, could fall within a month to 90 days.

The administration of former President Donald Trump first signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February 2020, which would have withdrawn all U.S. troops from the country by May 1. Biden later extended that withdrawal deadline date to September 11, but then brought it forward to August 31. The Afghanistan War has become the longest in U.S. history, running from October 2001 to the present.

"The status quo was not an option. Staying meant U.S. troops taking casualties. American men and women," Biden said in early July, defending the withdrawal. The president said the mission the U.S. set out to achieve in the country was already accomplished years ago.

Afghan women
U.S. Deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery deleted a tweet in which she called for the support of women in Afghanistan. Halida, 11, whose father was killed by the Taliban, holds her cousin Shafika, 8 months, next to family as displaced Afghans arrive at a makeshift camp from the northern provinces desperately leaving their homes behind on Tuesday in Kabul, Afghanistan. Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

"The mission was accomplished in that we got Osama bin Laden and terrorism is not emanating from that part of the world," Biden said. Bin Laden—the alleged mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S.—was killed under the administration of former President Barack Obama in May 2011. The Al Qaeda leader was residing in Pakistan when he was killed by U.S. forces.

The Taliban have already seized Afghanistan's second and third largest cities. Reuters reported on Friday the hardline Islamist militant group retook control of Kandahar, Herat and Lashkar Gah. Meanwhile, the U.S. military has redeployed troops to Kabul to assist in the evacuation of U.S. diplomats and other officials there. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have fled their homes since the start of the year, according to the United Nations.