As the Biden administration continues to hope the American public will forget about the Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco, it is clear the effects of this particular SNAFU are ongoing. In a recent briefing, it came to light that there are still hundreds of Americans left in the region, which is far higher than what was originally indicated. However, it is not yet clear how the White House intends to assist the people who wish to leave.
Still Stuck in Afghanistan
The State Department reportedly informed congressional staff on Oct. 21 that it has communicated with 363 American citizens who remain in Afghanistan. Of this number, 176 wish to leave the country. The Hill reported:
“The U.S. government has helped about 234 Americans evacuate since the end of August, but it is not known exactly how many were in the country as U.S. troops left or how many remain. It is difficult to track such a figure as private citizens do not need to declare they are traveling there.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated that Afghan residents who possess American passports were “trying to determine whether or not they wanted to leave.”
In a statement, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) castigated the Biden administration for its apparent failure to assess the number of individuals who want out of Afghanistan:
“For weeks, their official number was ‘about a hundred’ and it magically never changed – as Americans slowly got out the total number never went down. Now they say more than 300 Americans are still in Afghanistan.”
There are still thousands of Afghan allies who remain in the country. These people are particularly vulnerable to retaliation from the Taliban, which has been actively searching for and executing them.
Will They Make It?
At this point, it does not appear the White House has much of a plan for extracting American citizens and Afghan allies from the region. It is yet another example illustrating the feckless approach the president’s team has taken toward this matter.
Indeed, much of the evacuation effort has fallen to private entities and individuals attempting to rescue as many as possible despite being hampered by the State Department. A recent CNN report detailed efforts on the part of U.S. service members to evacuate friends and family in lieu of an adequate White House response.
The report notes that “two months after the final US military plane left Kabul,” these individuals “are still working tirelessly to extract family members of US service personnel stuck in Afghanistan” and have indicated there “is little or no official help from the US government.” The report also says:
“Interviews with active-duty service members, former military officers and current lawmakers working on this issue reveal a deep level of frustration over the lack of formal government assistance. Lawmakers say they are in the dark about the best official avenue to help constituents who call asking for help. And military personnel with family stuck in Afghanistan say they’ve been left to figure things out for themselves.”
When the Afghanistan disaster was in full swing in August, the activist media actually did some journalism, criticizing the administration for its botched evacuation efforts. But it appears they have moved on from the matter, and there are few reports on the people who remain trapped in a country whose new government is hostile toward them. Will the effort fall completely on private entities? At this point, that appears to be the Biden administration’s plan.
~ Read more from Jeff Charles.
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