High on the rhetoric of no one left behind, the Biden administration made promise after promise to secure every person who wanted to leave Afghanistan. As the official U.S. mission ended, the reins were taken over by private individuals and organizations. However, these same enterprises are claiming the administration – particularly the State Department – is hindering their efforts to rescue Americans, SIV (special immigrant visa) holders, and vulnerable refugees.
With accusations of delays, refusals to permit landings, and a whole host of bureaucratic hold-ups, organizers on the ground suggest that the lack of cooperation is partially due to government embarrassment that the mission has now fallen on the shoulders of private entities.
It seems the reality of a rushed and poorly executed evacuation, coupled with an insistence that the government is the solution to all ills, is about to usurp the fevered dream portrayed by much of the Biden-friendly media that getting 120,000 people out of the country within the space of a few days constitutes a success.
No Help, No Answers
Several organizations have insisted that the State Department is the single entity restricting their charter flights from leaving Afghan airspace. One of the group leaders spoke with Fox News to express his surprise and disgust. He said:
“This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing on the tarmac, and all it takes is a f—-ing phone call.
“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands … It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.”
On Sunday, Representative Mike Waltz (R-FL) called for the State Department to step up efforts to work with these NGOs in rescuing stranded people. In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he wrote: “These groups are communicating to my office that State is not proactively arranging the appropriate clearances to take full advantage of these flights.”
No official response has been forthcoming from the department; however, journalists have been directed toward comments made by spokesman Ned Price on Thursday. At that time, Price denied that his department was hindering flights and suggested that any problems are likely caused by not having U.S. personnel on the ground.
An Issue of Motivation
Why the State Department appears to be refusing assistance in the rescue of the very people President Biden promised would be a number one priority is unclear. Is it a question of bureaucratic malaise or incompetence? Could it be that the numerous reports are being exaggerated for political gain? These are questions that lawmakers will have to address once the dust settles.
Perhaps the reason that the U.S. government is not doing all it can in these matters is more of an ideological one. If private enterprise can succeed where the might of the administration has failed, the public may begin to wonder whether big government itself is the problem rather than the solution.
Read more from Mark Angelides.