We promised we wouldn’t leave until we evacuated all Americans from Afghanistan. And now three and a half months later, the United States is continuing to evacuate our citizens who have been stranded in the country.
The State Department announced recently that the federal government has helped 479 American citizens and 450 lawful U.S. residents and their immediate families leave the Taliban-controlled country. The State Department also indicated that it is still talking with less than a dozen U.S. citizens who still remain in the country.
Since we first left the country, the White House administration has given estimates of the number of U.S. citizens and residents who were trapped in Afghanistan. That number has continually climbed since our botched withdrawal.
The State Department included in their press release that through Operation Allies Welcome, they have relocated Afghan allies and their families who worked with America. The number of allies includes 2,200 Afghans who now have special immigrant visas. It also includes SIV applicants who have what is called Chief of Mission (COM) approval. This is a step required by the Afghan Allies Protection Act of 2009.
The United States military finished its withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August. It turned over control of the country to the Taliban, which is a recognized terror group. The withdrawal was plagued with violence while the White House administration rushed to complete the withdrawal by their self-imposed deadline of August 31st.
America left hundreds of American civilians behind and was forced to trust the Taliban to facilitate their departure back to the United States. We also left what could have been hundreds of thousands of American allies and their families who gave help to the United States in the fight against the Taliban for the last two decades.
President Joe Biden praised the withdrawal which brought to an end the longest war in the history of our country. He said it was an “extraordinary success.” Many did not agree with him.
Politico reported in August that not everyone in the administration shared the confidence that Biden had. One administration official said that he or she was “absolutely appalled and literally horrified” that we left Americans in the country.
Another official said to the news agency, “It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO [non-combatant evacuation operations], and we have failed that no-fail mission.”
Another official said that the mission can’t be accomplished if we left Americans behind.
It was during the withdrawal that an ISIS-affiliated suicide bomber attacked one of the main gates of Kabul’s airport. It was the center of the U.S. evacuation. This attack killed 13 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of Afghan civilians. Adding insult to injury, Biden said that the terror attack and deaths of the service members were unavoidable.
Recently, there was a leader of a non-profit group working to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies who accused the State Department of hampering their efforts.
Jesse Jensen, a former Army Ranger, and Republican congressional candidate told The Post that the department is making it impossible for private rescue organizations to remove those who are still under great threat by the Taliban.
Another non-profit organization, No One Left Behind, told The Post that they are tracking more than 10,000 people who are eligible for SIVs along with 38,000 family members who have requested help in getting out of the country.
This non-profit believes that this is just a limited picture because there are likely more who have not yet reached out because of fear. And now Winter is approaching and there are increasing food shortages as well as human rights abuses.
It is pretty hard to accept Biden’s description of the process as being a glowing success.