Is the State Dept blocking private rescue flights from Afghanistan?
Joe Biden touted the U.S.'s chaotic Afghanistan exit as an "extraordinary success" even as pretty much everyone knows got 13 U.S. servicemembers killed and abandoned hundreds of Americans to the Taliban, maybe more, he's not saying.
He wants that story off the front pages now, given that he's busy touting his $3.5-trillion infrastructure spending bill, and assorted COVID measures, when he's not hiding from the public.
And the Americans left behind, despite his claim that "you will not be left behind," are still trying to get out.
So it's pretty strange right now to see the Biden administration reportedly blocking the private rescue flights to get Americans out. This is not Taliban demands for bribes to leave, which have been seen elsewhere — just State Department intransigence, refusing to give these rescue aircraft clearance to land in Qatar and other way stations with the passport-holding Americans and the Afghani allies who have helped us.
According to Fox News:
Americans engaged in the rescue of U.S. citizens, SIVs and green card holders left behind by President Biden in Afghanistan are horrified by what they describe as inexplicable delays from the State Department that are preventing evacuation flights from leaving the country.
The State Department's delays are recklessly endangering American lives, three different individuals involved in the private evacuation effort told Fox News.
Rick Clay, who runs the private rescue group PlanB, told Fox News that the State Department is the only thing preventing the flights he's organizing from leaving Afghanistan.
Two other American individuals separately involved in evacuation efforts, whom Fox News is not naming to avoid jeopardizing ongoing rescue efforts, similarly said that the State Department is the sole entity preventing their charter flights from leaving Afghanistan.
The report states that the organizers say the people have been vetted and have their documents in order, but the State Department, which along with the rest of the Biden administration just got done transporting tens of thousands of unvetted Afghan migrants it won't be able to send back if they fail to pass vetting, but it won't let these planes leave.
These people need to spend time checking the first 800 names for vetting, so the story reports, and that, of course, will take time, so too bad about those who need to get out now.
This comes as the Taliban has reportedly commenced house-to-house searches for Americans, according to a pregnant American woman who has already been beaten up by the Taliban and who got left at the Kabul airport as the last jet took off. She's still trying to get out on her own, and that's not surprising. The jets that took off were full of Afghan migrants, not refugees, let alone Afghan allies, and Americans were left stranded. The people who got on in the chaos were often single men who pushed and shoved in front of women, children, the elderly and the handicapped who had been waiting in line.
Now the State Department is suddenly interested in taking its time with vetting.
This suggests something funny going on. The organizers say it's a Biden bid to prevent embarrassing reports about private rescues getting out.
"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‑‑‑‑‑‑ phone call," one of those individuals, who has been integral to private evacuation efforts from Afghanistan, told Fox News.
"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," that individual said, adding: "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."
That individual suggested that the State Department's obstruction is motivated in part by embarrassment that private individuals are rescuing Americans that the U.S. government left behind.
If so, it's outrageous. Abandoning Americans and Afghan allies to the tender mercies of the Taliban and then trying to cover it up by not allowing anyone else to rescue these people is downright criminal. Apparently, that's what's going on since Joe Biden can't take any more embarrassment about all the Americans left behind. Better, then, to claim they wanted it this way, which is nonsense.
What's going on here? It's about time someone in Congress, and assorted lawyers, asked.
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