Throughout the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan’s unmitigated debacle that President Biden calls an “extraordinary success,” Liberty Nation raised the issue of State Department incompetence. Despite constant assurances by Joe Biden that no American would be left behind in Afghanistan, Americans have been left behind. Now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken seems unable to make up his mind on whether the Taliban has abided by its agreements with the U.S., or flouted them.
In his analysis of the Afghan evacuation, LN Managing Editor Mark Angelides observed that American rescue operatives in Kabul and hiding around the Afghan countryside were getting, as his headline says, “No Help From State Dept. In Afghan Evacuations.” Angelides explained:
“… the administration – particularly the State Department – is hindering their efforts to rescue Americans, SIV (special immigration 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.”
A report by Ryan Saavedra for The Daily Wire blamed U.S. citizens not being able to get out of Afghanistan squarely on Biden’s administration. He said: “The Biden administration is reportedly blocking private rescue efforts from flying American citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigration Visa applicants out of Afghanistan.” That report was on September 5. On September 6, private groups struggling to help were stymied in their attempts by the State Department bureaucracy.
As Angelides reports, “Several organizations have insisted that the State Department is the single entity restricting their charter flights from leaving Afghan airspace.” Then, on September 7, rescue missions arranged and coordinated by private organizations continued to be prevented from saving American citizens and at-risk Afghans with SIVs left behind. This time, those at Mazar-i-Sharif airport blamed the Taliban as the culprits. But Foggy Bottom’s leader, Antony Blinken, was forceful in his assurances Americans left behind in Afghanistan are not prevented from leaving by the Taliban. Again, from The Daily Wire:
“Biden administration Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded to claims that dozens of Americans and perhaps hundreds of Afghan allies are being held by the Taliban at Mazar-i-Sharif Airport (MAZ), unable to board privately chartered planes out of the country, telling a press conference in Doha, Qatar, that he is ‘not aware’ of any ‘hostage-like situation,’ only a ‘relatively small number of Americans’ who should be allowed to leave Afghanistan. ‘We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage-like situation in Mazar-i-Sharif,’ Blinken said when asked about the six planes on the ground at MAZ, reportedly unable to leave.”
Tara Copp, a reporter for Defense One, adds a little more to the Mazar-i-Sharif non-hostage story. “US State Department officials acknowledged Tuesday [September 7] that they have been unable so far to get six chartered aircraft carrying about 1,000 evacuees [What? Not just 100 to 200 as was reported by Secretary Blinken?] out of Mazar-i-Sharif,” Copp pointed out, “but it was not clear whether the holdup was due to US bureaucracy or Taliban action.” Oh, and Copp tells us that all the U.S. screeners that vet the legitimacy of evacuees have left Afghanistan. Of course they have.
One can only imagine the conversation that went on between Secretary Blinken and his staff. “Mr. Secretary, there are only two reasons for the hold up getting evacuees out of Afghanistan. Either it’s us at fault or them, the Taliban. You just told the world that it is not the Taliban. Sir, it can’t be us. We’re the State Department.” Blinken, on reflection, no doubt would have responded, “Your right. I need to say something to the press. You know, clarify.”
That update came from Fox on September 8, a day after he denied the Taliban was holding up flights:
“Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday that the Taliban have kept planes grounded in Kabul because some evacuees lack required visa documentation, but Republicans on the Hill are frustrated with that ‘excuse’ from the administration when it comes to getting evacuees out of Afghanistan … Blinken told reporters Wednesday [September 8] that ‘as of now, the Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart.’”
So, it is the Taliban now. How can Americans have any confidence in a State Department that has shown itself to be the world’s finest diplomatic Keystone Cops on its best day? What we are left with is not encouraging. First, the secretary of state blames those left behind in Afghanistan for being left behind. Then we learn that there are a lot of Americans and SIV holders left behind – at least 1,000 in six chartered airplanes – but President Joe Biden assures us that this withdrawal was an “extraordinary success.” Those left behind disagree and assert that the State Department’s bureaucracy prevents private citizens from helping rescue them. Secretary of State Blinken assures us that it’s not the Taliban holding up the private chartered rescue flights. On second thought, it is the Taliban – “the Taliban have kept planes grounded.” The U.S. cannot exist in a dangerous world facing Russia and China with this level of national security buffoonery.
The late Senator John McCain of Arizona could not have been more spot-on in his speech from the Senate floor when he objected to President Obama’s choice of Antony Blinken for Deputy Secretary of State. He said, “in this case, this individual has actually been dangerous to America …” McCain was referring to Blinken’s ideas about, you guessed it, Afghanistan. The senator’s comments could not have been more prescient.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.