As President Joe Biden embraces the Taliban’s demand that the U.S. end its military presence in Afghanistan on Aug. 31, reports are emerging that the allies America promised it would protect are being left to fend for themselves.
The reports from Kabul came as Republican Texas Rep. Mike McCaul said Biden’s headlong retreat “will be a stain on this presidency … he will have blood on his hands. People are going to die. And they’re gonna be left behind,” according to Fox News.
Afghan civilians attempting to evacuate are being turned away at Hamid Karzai International Airport, according to The New York Times.
The report, citing an unnamed State Department official, said some interpreters and others who are supposedly a priority for evacuation are being sent away from the Kabul airport by American officials in favor of American citizens and green card holders.
She says she was a translator for 15 years. She worked on a base with many of these people. Some have pending SIV applications. Others do not. But because she is an American, they thought she could help them. She told them not to come, they came anyway.
Now, they’re here.
— Ruffini (@EenaRuffini) August 24, 2021
“We’re telling people to be prepared to survive up to a day in the scrum” around the airport, said Matt Zeller, a former CIA official trying to help evacuate those with whom he worked. “They make it inside only to be turned back.”
The development was pilloried on Twitter by National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke.
“This was the plan all along. Those who helped us were always going to be left behind. Which is why, on June 24th, President Biden said ‘We’ve already begun the process. Those who helped us are not going to be left behind,’” he tweeted.
This was the plan all along. Those who helped us were always going to be left behind. Which is why, on June 24th, President Biden said “We’ve already begun the process. Those who helped us are not going to be left behind.” https://t.co/nVxB4Tw4mf
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) August 24, 2021
White House press secretary Jen Psaki downplayed the crisis.
“Our expectation and what we will continue to convey directly through a range of channels we have is that the individuals, the Special Immigrant Visa applicants, those who are eligible, those who we are facilitating their departure, will be able to reach the airport,” Psaki said Tuesday, according to Fox News.
However, according to the Times, as of Tuesday, the Taliban was blocking access to the Kabul airport for Afghans.
Two girls were locked out of the Kabul airport while their parents were admitted.
This man had something to say about it: “Mr. Biden, you did this! You planned this. You made the deal with the Taliban. This is the consequences of it.” pic.twitter.com/8Js4iuYvi6
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 24, 2021
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid announced the new policy at a Tuesday news conference.
“The road, which goes to the airport, is blocked,” Mujahid said, according to CNN. “Afghans cannot take that road to go to the airport, but foreign nationals are allowed to take that road to the airport.”
Is the Afghan withdrawal a national disgrace?
Another CNN report said documents the outlet obtained show that the Taliban has sentenced to death the brother of a translator who worked with U.S. forces.
“You have been accused of helping the Americans,” the Taliban wrote in the first of three letters to the man, adding, “You are also accused of providing security to your brother, who has been an interpreter.”
The final letter told the man that after not heeding warnings to stop “your servitude to the invading crusaders” and skipping a hearing on his charges, he is being sentenced to death.
If you asked any of our troops, they would leave the Kabul airport in a second to save their fellow Americans. But they are mostly being restricted while our German, French, and British allies are rescuing people.
America is supposed to lead the way. What is Joe Biden doing?
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) August 23, 2021
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said Biden should keep faith with Americans and Afghan allies, not the Taliban.
“Like many Americans, I urge you not to allow the Taliban to set the timetable for evacuations. The United States should not answer to terrorists, and it is deeply troubling that the terms of U.S. evacuations are being set by the Taliban,” he wrote in a letter to Biden.
“The sacred oaths that you and I have sworn demand that we do everything in our power to protect these American citizens and friends who are in harm’s way. Taliban-imposed deadlines should be irrelevant. I implore you to use all means necessary — including military force outside the Kabul airport — to ensure these persons are brought out safely,” Wicker wrote.
TONE DEAF: Pelosi Hails ‘Great Day of Pride’ for America as Afghanistan Chaos Unfolds at Kabul Airport https://t.co/RP0IDDYmFp
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 24, 2021
An ex-Marine offered his insight on American-Afghan relations in the midst of the U.S. troop withdrawal.
“I hope we do right by these people, but I hope we do it quickly,” said Andrew Vernon, a former Marine who has attempted to provide help to an Afghan interpreter he worked with, according to the Times. “But I am fully prepared to be fully disappointed as well.”