Twenty years after the U.S. government declared war on terrorism, it consummated its own defeat in Kabul and Washington, in a manner foreseeable, foreseen, and foreshadowed in 9/11’s immediate aftermath. Fixation on itself and unseriousness about war are the twin habits of heart and mind that disposed the ruling class to defeat. The practical explanation for why and how it accepted defeat is found in the overriding interest each part of the ruling class has in doing what it wants to do.
On the night of September 11, 2001, Muslim governments strictly forbade public celebrations of the carnage. The Palestinian Authority, anticipating that outraged Americans would destroy them to avenge the day’s events, even called the attacks al nachba—“the disaster.” But as the U.S. ruling class made clear that it was accepting defeat, the Muslim world’s media and streets celebrated.
Two decades later, after that defeat’s logic had worked its way through and transformed American life, and as the government’s self-humiliating exit from Afghanistan consummated it, much of mankind followed Muslim crowds in celebrating—including prominent Americans.
When the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan last month, the group took possession of a U.S.-funded weapons stockpile worth tens of billions of dollars.
The U.S. invested nearly $83 billion in bolstering the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), more than $24 billion of which went to funding weapons, vehicles and other equipment, according to a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report published in July. The amount of funding for weapons, vehicles and equipment is based on a 2017 Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimate that roughly 70% of the investment went towards other budget items like training.
In the aftermath of the shocking collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government last month, U.S. defense officials estimated that Taliban militants took dozens of aircraft including Blackhawk helicopters and thousands of vehicles, communications equipment and weapons. Republican lawmakers demanded the Biden administration provide them with a full accounting of the equipment that was in the Taliban’s possession while GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee introduced a bill requiring the White House to share the information with Congress.
North Korea was likely always going to restart its nuclear reactor regardless of which presidential administration was in office, an expert on the region told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in late August that North Korea had restarted a plutonium-producing 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon in July 2021, after previously shutting it down in 2018.
Bruce Klingner, the senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at The Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF that while it’s unclear whether the timing of the restart was meant to send a message, North Korea probably was planning for the reactor to become operational again for a while.
The last missile fired by the United States Military in the 20-year war in Afghanistan struck only an innocent Afghan man and his family in Kabul— not ISIS militants, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The blast killed ten members of the extended family of a civilian aid worker, Zemari Ahmadi, and three of his children, Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and Farzad, 10; Mr. Ahmadi’s cousin Naser, 30; three of Romal’s children, Arwin, 7, Benyamin, 6, and Hayat, 2; and two 3-year-old girls, Malika and Somaya.
If you watched HBO’s recent docudrama about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, you may have been struck by the historic connection to the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan. The epilogue posited the theory that the need for helicopters to mitigate the nuclear disaster caused the Russians to pull the attack helicopters from Afghanistan, making the already pointless war impossible to continue. So in 1988, the Soviets cut their losses and withdrew from Afghanistan.
The Afghan rebels did not seize control of Afghanistan until 1992. But the 1988 withdrawal also played a huge role in the loss of legitimacy for the Soviet system itself. The apparent juggernaut wielded terrifying power at its borders but remained frail and vulnerable to collapse from within. The very idea that the great Soviet evil empire could fail set off a series of dominoes that led to its collapse. The Afghan war, the struggling economy, and the Chernobyl disaster all combined to reveal the wise and powerful leaders in Moscow as incompetent despots.
More than 30 years later, American planners may have felt they had years or at least months during which residual civilians could make an orderly departure from Afghanistan as needed. The Soviet puppet government lasted almost four years (ironically, longer than the Soviet Union continued to exist), so why wouldn’t an American-sponsored government be able to hold on at least that long? The American planners probably believed that they were prolonging the longevity of the puppet regime by leaving nearly $80 billion in military equipment in the hands of the American-aligned Afghan government.
The U.S. State Department will not give official approval to any private evacuation flight from Afghanistan seeking to land in third countries, leaked emails obtained by Fox News show.
“No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power,” a State Department official said in a Sept. 1 email to Eric Montalvo, who organized a number of charter flights out of Afghanistan, Fox News reported.
Representative Mark Green (R-TN-07), a former combat veteran now serving in Congress, penned an opinion piece in The Daily Signal, hammering the Biden Administration for the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal.
The member of the Foreign Affairs committee detailed that Biden’s decision “leaves America just as vulnerable as we were on 9/11.”
A measles outbreak has occurred among Afghan refugees who recently arrived at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. McCoy is one of the military bases housing thousands of Afghan refugees after recent evacuation attempts because of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
From the moment he was nominated until the last few weeks, the media carried a lot of water for Joe Biden. In spite of his apparent lack of energy or brains, we were regaled with tales of his experience, good judgment, and, above all, his empathy.
America was back. The adults were now in charge. No more “mean tweets.” Biden’s presidency would be a time of competence and compassion.
Watching the Biden Administration bring into the country tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans, who are neither U.S. citizens nor native Afghans who assisted American troops, I am coming to wonder whether Biden was actually wrong to describe the withdrawal of American forces as an “immense success.” It was, in fact, exactly what Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other Democratic operatives said it was: a success that will move the Democrats toward their goal of creating a one-party state.
Like the illegal aliens streaming across our southern borders and the efforts to remove restrictions against voting fraud, the influx of Afghan refugees is intended to increase the number of votes that will likely go to the Democratic Party, no matter how badly they mismanage the country.
Looking at these coordinated steps, I am reminded of an idea put forth by Aristotle in book six of the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle famously insisted on a distinction between technical expertise (e.g., building a house) and deeper, more foundational forms of knowledge. The most primal wisdom is sophia, which deals with universal knowledge that underlies all other true modes of knowing. But Aristotle also raises the question of whether there are not forms of techne that are so well developed that they reflect sophia. The two examples that he cites are Phidias’s work as an architect and Polykleitos’s achievements as a sculptor. According to Aristotle, the excellence that characterizes their technical skills indicates their creators are truly wise.
The State Department is endangering the lives of Americans and others still in Afghanistan, lawmakers and others allege, even as the State Department claims it has accomplished an unprecedented, global evacuation effort.
Military veteran Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) who has called on President Biden to resign over Afghanistan, is calling on Americans to demand that Secretary of State Antony Blinken get stranded Americans out of Afghanistan immediately.
Impeach Biden, court martial the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Only one man lost his job over Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller challenged Biden’s incompetent and spineless Joint Chiefs of Staff to take responsibility for their dereliction of duty that led directly to the catastrophe in Afghanistan. Taking responsibility meant resigning. Biden’s military men immediately smeared him as mentally ill and forced him out of the Marines.
It’s unclear how many Afghan refugees arrived in the U.S. recently, though they will mostly stay at military bases as they undergo immigration proceedings, a senior Biden administration official said during a press call last week.
Around 20,000 Afghan refugees now stay at eight military bases across the continental U.S., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said on Wednesday. The Biden administration warned nine nonprofit organizations contracted with the State Department that work with refugees to prepare for up to 50,000 Afghans to arrive in the U.S. without visas and in need of resettlement, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
“After getting tested (for COVID-19) at the airport, American citizens and LPRs (legal permanent residents) can head to their onward destination — home — while others — everyone else heads to those military bases I mentioned before,” the senior official said during a press call on Aug. 24. “There, they receive a full medical screening, and they receive a variety of healthcare services and assistance in applying for things like work authorizations, before moving on to their next destination.”
The Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. said he does not believe the Taliban is seeking “retribution” against Afghans, contrary to American intelligence, according to emails obtained by Politico.
Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan said in exchanges between the U.S. and Pakistan that the Taliban “were not seeking retribution, and in fact were going home to home to assure Afghans that there will not be reprisals,” based on “ground observations,” Politico reported.
U.S. State Department official Ervin Massinga noted that “he has seen reporting to the contrary and hopes the Taliban do not seek revenge.”
The State Department would not reveal what the U.S. will do with Afghan refugees who are flagged for security reasons.
“I would rather not entertain a hypothetical,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said at a press briefing Thursday when asked what would happen to Afghan evacuees who fail the vetting process.
Wisconsin Representative Bryan Steil (R-01-WI) is questioning why the Biden Administration shuttered the Trump era Contingency and Crisis Response (CCR) Bureau prior to withdrawing from Afghanistan. Steil co-wrote a letter to the Secretary of State Anthony Blinken with another Representative, saying that he believes that the decision to shut down the CCR made the Afghanistan situation worse.
Afghan women were reportedly forced into marriages with men who were eligible for evacuation from the country, CNN reported Thursday.
U.S. officials notified the State Department about some Afghan women and girls showing up with men pretending to be their husbands or after being forced into marriages with men eligible for evacuation, two sources familiar with the matter reportedly told CNN.
Some women are reportedly resorting to these unusual relationships in order to flee Taliban rule, CNN reported. Families of Afghan women at a transit hub in the United Arab Emirates arranged for such marriages at the Kabul international airport in Afghanistan so that women may leave, according to CNN.
The fall of Kabul is not the end, as Joe Biden seems to think, of the Afghanistan nightmare.
It is the beginning of a never-ending bad dream. Biden and the Pentagon have managed to birth a new terrorist haven, destroy much of U.S. strategic deterrence, and alienate our allies and much of the country.
There is no update as of Thursday on the 30 American schoolchildren who are stranded in Afghanistan.
American troops packed up and left the Taliban-controlled nation at the end of last week, ending a nearly 20 year war in the country.
A spokesperson for the State Department said he did not “have data” on whether Americans have been rescued from Afghanistan since the last U.S. flight out of Kabul at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“I don’t have data to provide on that front,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at the briefing when asked if he had a number.
The White House has responded to the plea of an Afghan interpreter who helped rescue then-Senator Joe Biden as well as then-Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel during a 2008 snowstorm in Afghanistan.
The interpreter, identified only by his first name – Mohammed – told The Wall Street Journal that he, his wife and four children are in hiding from the Taliban after a years-long failed attempt to get out of Afghanistan.
America First Legal is demanding an investigation into the Biden administration regarding its withdrawal from Afghanistan and is requesting answers from a number of government agencies over the handling of evacuees, according to a letter and six Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests first obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The group has asked the Department of Defense (D0D) acting inspector general for an investigation into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, specifically into the reported “‘Kill List’ Given to the Taliban,” information revealing what the president knew from intelligence reports, details about the “abandoned equipment and assets” and about leaving Bagram air base, as well as information about the “effective deployment of US air force assets.”
Wednesday morning on the John Fredericks Radio show, host Fredericks welcomed President Donald Trump to the phone lines to discuss the incompetent and costly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden addressed the nation Tuesday afternoon, presenting a detailed defense of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and once again honoring the lives of the 13 U.S. service members killed in a terrorist attack last week.
Biden’s speech came the day of the deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from the country. All U.S. troops were reportedly evacuated, though at least 100 Americans, possibly several hundred, remain.
President Biden declared to a puzzled country on Tuesday that the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan was an “extraordinary success,” while his Pentagon portrayed a prosaic, workaday process to repatriate Americans still stranded in the war-torn country.
But text messages between U.S. military commanders and private citizens mounting last-minute rescues tell a far different story, one in which pleading American citizens were frantically left behind at the Kabul airport gate this past weekend to face an uncertain fate under Taliban rule while U.S. officials sought to spread the blame between high-ranking generals and the State Department.
A private airplane that was flying into Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul, Afghanistan to rescue stranded American citizens and Afghan allies allegedly was told to turn back or they would be shot down.
In the past 24 hours, American officials in charge of giving clearance at the airport told fellow Americans they would be fired upon if they didn’t leave, Mary Beth Long, a former Department of Defense official, told American Greatness in an exclusive interview.
Uzbekistan, a Middle Eastern nation that borders Afghanistan, warned the U.S. that refugees fleeing the Taliban wouldn’t be granted asylum, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Uzbekistan government recently urged the U.S. to take action and transport the refugees to a third nation, according to the WSJ. The small Middle Eastern country reportedly doesn’t want t0 create tension with the incoming Taliban-controlled Afghan government by housing refugees including soldiers who fought alongside and were trained by American troops.
With national attention riveted over the weekend on two major stories — the frantic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid its fall to the Taliban and category 4 Hurricane Ida slamming into the Louisiana coast — Big Tech and woke finance dramatically extended the reach of cancel culture with brazen moves to silence and harass three high-profile voices of political and scientific dissent: independent journalist Alex Berenson, popular conservative news and opinion website The Gateway Pundit, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
On Saturday, Twitter permanently banned Alex Berenson, who has built a large social media following challenging public health establishment orthodoxy on COVID issues ranging from lockdown to vaccine mandates.
“The account you referenced has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation rules,” a Twitter spokesperson responded to an inquiry from Fox News.
Rep. Ilhan Omar has joined a group of Democrats in urging President Joe Biden to increase the refugee admissions cap to 200,000 for the next fiscal year to meet the “massive humanitarian need” in Afghanistan.
With the Taliban now in control of the country, the U.S. Department of Defense could house as many as 30,000 Afghan refugees at military bases across America, including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. That figure alone is nearly three times the number of refugees who were admitted to the U.S. last year under President Donald Trump.
President Biden revised the annual refugee admissions cap in May to 62,500 for the 2021 fiscal year, up from the “historically low number” of 15,000 set by the Trump administration. Biden said his goal is to increase that figure again to 125,000 for the next fiscal year.
The Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) has informed active duty and retired service members that they cannot “disrespect” President Joe Biden or other senior government leadership, even during the chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The warning came in an email, according to The Daily Wire, from the ONI’s chief of staff, reminding service members, current and retired, that they are “prohibited from disrespecting senior government leadership (e.g. the President, Vice President, Congress, Secretary of Defense, Service Secretaries, etc.).”
A Marine commander was relieved of his duties after he demanded accountability from top military brass in a video posted on social media after the deadly terrorist attack in Kabul Afghanistan. On Thursday, a suicide bomber detonated at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing 170 Afghans, and 13 American service members, most of whom were Marines.
Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller, an advanced Infantry Training Battalion commander at Camp LeJeune in Jacksonville, N.C., announced that he had been let go on his LinkedIn page.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee commented Saturday evening on the death of Ryan Knauss, an East Tennessean who was one of the 13 American service members killed in a deadly terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan last week “Maria and I are heartbroken and mourning the loss of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, a Tennessean who was killed in the tragic terrorist attack on Kabul. On behalf of all Tennesseans, we offer our full support in the difficult days ahead,” Lee tweeted Saturday.
Earlier this week, as covered in a previous column in the American Spectator, the Democrat National Committee bragged about the “achievement” of this alleged president in his “best-run evacuation” of Kabul. Chief among the DNC’s arguments for such ludicrous praise was the lack of American casualties.
The press flacks at the DNC, every one of whom would be fired if that organization had the slightest honor (its chairman, the failed U.S. Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, should similarly resign in disgrace before the weekend), were merely parroting statements the alleged president made about the absence of dead Americans at the time.
Every single credible person with either operational military experience or a knowledge of Afghanistan was warning that casualties were already inevitable by that point. Even the alleged president, in a fit of congratulatory onanism, qualified the alleged safety of the “best-run evacuation” with the proverbial knock on wood.
Despite the Biden Administration’s claims that the process of evacuating American citizens from the collapsing nation of Afghanistan has gotten back on track, numerous families still trapped behind enemy lines have confirmed through their congressman that the situation on the ground is still in chaos, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
The office of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) reports that several Americans stranded in Afghanistan are residents of his San Diego-based district, and that he has been actively working to expedite their evacuations from the country.
Issa spokesman Jonathan Wilcox said that the families “are scared, stranded, and trapped in the Kabul area. So far, they’ve been unable to reach the airport,” in reference to the Hamid Karzai International Airport, which has since fallen to Taliban control.
U.S. officials in Kabul have given the Taliban “a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies” who should be granted entry through Taliban checkpoints outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), Politico reported Thursday. This decision to trust the Taliban with this information has reportedly “prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials.”
The U.S. military has been sharing “information with the Taliban” since Aug. 14 ostensibly to prevent attacks, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. confirmed during a Pentagon briefing Thursday.
It might seem that there is little to be added to what the whole world has witnessed viewing the unutterable shambles of the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. But that would be an illusion. The story of the perilous departure from Afghanistan of NATO forces and civilians and their Afghan collaborators who are now in mortal danger is obviously a matter of great suspense. The United States could certainly tell the Taliban government of Afghanistan that if all those whom the Western powers wished to evacuate were not allowed to leave it would be an act of war. If there were the will to act on that ultimatum, it would be successful.
But under the circumstances, the credibility of such a threat would probably have to be proved by acting on it. As some commentators have mentioned, this would be morally justified and is morally required and the administration would simply have to accept that it has bungled the withdrawal, and must execute an immediate but brief return. The Biden Administration, after seven months, has shown no competence whatever in foreign or national security policy.
Airbnb, a vacation home rental site, is offering free temporary housing to around 20,000 Afghan refugees across the world, the company announced Tuesday.
“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement. “For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”
Around 3.5 million people living in Afghanistan have been displaced, including around 270,000 due to Taliban advances since January, the U.N. reported on July 13. Around 10,400 people were evacuated by U.S. military flights from Afghanistan Sunday and another 6,660 were taken Monday, according to the Associated Press.
In the “Nicomachean Ethics,” Aristotle has a lot to say about the activity of choice and its place in securing “eudaimonia,” that “good-spiritedness” that is synonymous with human fulfillment.
Choice is critical in the metabolism of virtue. But, Aristotle points out, it is possible for someone, through bad choices, to put himself in a situation from which choice cannot rescue him.
The Biden administration has been an “impediment” to a private effort to get people out of Afghanistan, Robert Stryk, who is arranging privately chartered flights to get Americans and vulnerable Afghans out of the country, exclusively told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.
“The Brits and South Africans have been fucking awesome and heroic in getting people through the Mil Gate,” Stryk told the DCNF.
Stryk, whose Washington-based lobbying firm was in 2017 paid by the government of Afghanistan for “US Government affairs and commercial sector advice. Executive Branch and Legislative Branch Engagement; Defense consultation; strategic advice pertaining to extremism/terrorism; and promotion of democracy and foreign direct investment,” said he had reached out to the administration “dozens and dozens” of times and had yet to hear back.
While the Taliban and Iranian mullahs still enjoy Twitter privileges, a growing number of Americans, mostly of conservative persuasion, face a range of restrictions imposed on their accounts by U.S. social media platforms.
The list of Americans who have seen their social media reach limited is topped by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been banned indefinitely on Twitter and for two years on Facebook. More recently, Georgia GOP Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene was temporarily silenced by Twitter.
The firebrand freshman congresswoman was suspended earlier this month for seven days for what Twitter called “misinformation” for arguing COVID-19 masks and vaccines are “failing,” as more fully vaccinated Americans are contracting the virus’s highly contagious delta strain.
At first blush, it may not seem that the Democrats’ $4.5 trillion infrastructure and spending plans and President Joe Biden’s bungled exit from Afghanistan have a nexus. But they do in China’s rare metals monopoly.
Beijing already dominates the rare metals market needed for electronics, electric car batteries and computers, a reality made more painfully obvious with the current computer chip shortage that is slowing production of new U.S. cars.
And now with the haphazard U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of lithium — estimated by some at $1 trillion in Afghanistan — is poised to fall into China’s hands just as Biden has ordered that half all U.S. cars be electric by 2030 and congressional Democrats prepare to vote to invest tens of billions of dollars more to push that goal further.
Throughout his candidacy, presidency, and reelection campaign, Donald Trump was targeted by the deep state, which undertook to subvert, defeat, and destroy him. In the 2020 election specifically, we saw leaks, lies, and letters from “experts” and “leaders” attacking Trump with sundry false accusations, all intended to boost the chances of his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Unlike so many of Biden’s open supporters, such as the National Education Association or the Service Employees International Union or even his billionaire supporters’ dark money, it is impossible to quantify how much the deep state contributed to him. But it is indisputable the deep state is part of Biden’s core constituency.
While the disadvantages of aging are often lamented and discussed, there are a few perks. One of which is having actual memories of events about which younger people can only read about or view on YouTube. For me, one of those memories etched indelibly in my mind is that of American helicopters airlifting diplomats and workers off of rooftops in Saigon as it fell.
I watched Vietnam fall with the voice of Walter Cronkite narrating. The symbolism of that long and failed endless American war was so vivid and so devastating that for me, like others in my generation, I was left to hope that the United States would never let something like that happen in the future.
Now, as I watch the scenes out of Afghanistan, I am put in mind of the immortal line given to us by New York Yankee legend Yogi Berra: It’s déjà vu all over again.
As the Taliban continues to take over the government of Afghanistan, Virginia is willing to take in thousands of Afghan refugees, Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Twitter.
“Last week I was honored to meet some of the thousands of Afghan citizens and families who have sought refuge at Fort Lee in Virginia,” Northam tweeted. “I’m coordinating with [Washington] DC and have made it clear: we’re ready and willing to take thousands more. Virginia will continue to serve as [a] safe harbor.”
The chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has produced moving scenes of disorder and desperation. Some see American fecklessness. Others, the rancid fruit of attempting to cultivate Afghanistan in our image. Finally, others see the Biden Administration making a hash of what was fundamentally a good policy of planned withdrawal. Even for those who supported withdrawal—as I did—the events of the last week undeniably were emblematic of the ongoing humiliation of the United States and its military.
Defending his decisions, Joe Biden gave a surprisingly good speech, which could have just as easily come from Donald Trump or Ron Paul. But considering the circumstances, the tone was off. The speech only justified the withdrawal in general and avoided taking responsibility for its particulars, including the grim scene at the Kabul airport, for which Biden and his administration bear some responsibility. Biden defied credulity when he said, “We planned for every contingency.”
Joe Biden’s national security team reportedly ignored the Trump administration’s careful plans for withdrawing from Afghanistan, resulting in the nightmare scenario currently unfolding in the war-torn country.
Former National Security Council Senior Director Kash Patel told Just the News’ John Solomon on Thursday, “I don’t even know that anyone could have made this awful scenario up. It’s literally worse than you could possibly conjure.”
The Biden administration continued to inform American citizens in Afghanistan as of Thursday evening they could have to pay more than $2,000 to board an evacuation flight out of the country, despite the State Department telling the press hours before that it had no intention of levying any such charges.
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has stated in multiple security advisories since Monday that any U.S. citizen seeking to evacuate the country must complete an online form in order to secure their repatriation flight. “This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the embassy said in a security advisory Wednesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told the Daily Caller News Foundation and other news outlets late Thursday afternoon that the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.”
Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor and Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby dodged a reporter’s question about whether the US military is buying aviation fuel from the Taliban as evacuation efforts continue at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul.
During a briefing at the Pentagon Thursday, Kirby also revealed that of the 2,000 people evacuated over the last 24 hours, only 300 of them were Americans.
“How are you fueling your planes… are you now in a position that you have to buy fuel from the Taliban?” asked Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin during a briefing at the Pentagon.
Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, is best known as home to the Army’s tank division, the revered Old Ironsides military insignia and the country’s largest military-controlled airspace. But the Biden administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan is turning the vast installation into ground zero for the evacuation of Afghans who spent two decades helping the United States fight the war against terror.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn says the fort is preparing to receive 10,000 Afghan refugees, and military officials have hinted that number could reach much higher.
It’s the second major wave of civilian guests to be hosted at the fort, which began this spring helping the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services Departments to house thousands of unaccompanied minor children who were brought across the border.
“Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st. The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart… And thanks to the way in which we have managed our withdrawal, no one — no one U.S. forces or any forces have — have been lost. Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with a increased risk of safety to our personnel.”
That was President Joe Biden as recently as July 8 justifying not just a drawdown, but a rapid drawdown of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, trying to reach an arbitrary goal of zero troops in the country by the end of this month.