President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the end of the war in Afghanistan in the State Dining Room at the White House on Tuesday. The last U.S. military aircraft took off from Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul a few minutes before midnight. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images; Aamir Qureshi – AFP / Getty Images)
By Christine Favocci September 1, 2021 at 6:33am
Very often, the depth of human suffering in a given situation is thoroughly revealed when a single individual’s awful plight becomes news — and the story of a 3-year-old American boy left to the tender mercies of the Taliban is one of those instances.
The Sacramento, California-born child and his family were beaten by the Taliban as they attempted to leave Afghanistan in the chaos following President Joe Biden’s hasty military withdrawal and have been forced into hiding, KGO-TV reported Tuesday.
The boy’s father and the rest of the family, whose identities are being concealed for their protection, now face an uncertain future in the nation that was given over to the Taliban as U.S. forces left the region ahead of a Tuesday deadline.
Like many Americans who are now on their own without the formal support of their government, members of the family had reached out to their stateside contacts. Their plight was first taken up by veterans advocate James Brown.
“I received a call Sunday morning at about 6 a.m. from a friend of mine who’s an active duty Marine Corps officer stationed overseas, and he basically felt like his hands were tied and he needed some help getting this family out,” Brown told KGO.
Brown enlisted the help of California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, whose staff immediately joined the cause that involved the young U.S. citizen and his permanent-resident status family members.
“They’ve also made numerous phone calls to the White House, to the secretary of defense’s office and to the secretary of state’s office, escalating this family’s case all the way to the top for us,” Brown said.
Speier furnished the family with a letter that said it was of her “particular and urgent concern that these individuals be allowed to pass through the gate and be given safe refuge at Hamid Karzai International Airport … so that they might be available for departure.”
The letter was meant to fortify their claim to refugee status and should have granted them safe passage to the airport as they also had the appropriate documents proving their legal U.S. status.
Instead, they were attacked.
“And they were stopped by a Taliban checkpoint, and they received physical beatings at the gate and they were pushed back where they had to flee and return to a safe house,” Brown said.
KGO learned that the boy and his family had since joined with other Americans trapped behind enemy lines and were secretly on the move, though further information was unavailable.
The Pentagon has acknowledged that hundreds of people have been similarly left behind despite Biden’s promise that U.S. forces would stay until every last person who wished to be evacuated was brought to safety.
Still, with many fraught stories surely continuing to play out, Biden took a victory lap and called the operation an “extraordinary success” in his remarks Tuesday.
“We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety,” Biden said in his address to the nation.
“That number is more than double what most experts thought were possible. No nation, no nation has ever done anything like it in all of history,” he boasted. “Only the United States had the capacity and the will and the ability to do it, and we did it today.”
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravely and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and our intelligence professionals,” the president said.
Do you think there will be political fallout from Biden’s mishandling of Afghanistan?
Even if a sizeable number have made it to safety, it’s hard to believe that an American president would consider this botched, haphazard evacuation a “success” when so many American citizens and those who helped the U.S. war effort have been left behind.
These people now face either death or a life of oppression, tyranny and violence from the Taliban, who have also been handed a cache of weapons and military equipment thanks to this debacle that Biden initiated, oversaw and now brags about.
To think of the tragic circumstances this American toddler and his family are sure to face is downright sickening, but what’s to come is even more frightening.
The exiting U.S. military also takes with it the last vestiges of Western civility — and the people who remain will take the brunt of it all.
Biden’s missive to hastily pull out of Afghanistan has left Americans stranded in a perilous situation with little hope for escape, but the worst part is that it didn’t have to happen in the first place.