President Biden and his flaks continue to dance around the narrative they need to push to get out from under the shame of leaving Americans behind when the last U.S. forces abandoned Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul. As PJ Media’s Matt Margolis reported earlier, text messages between Americans and military commanders show the U.S. knew it was happening. “We are f—ing abandoning American citizens,” one Army colonel with to the 82nd Airborne texted. The colonel detailed a failed effort to evacuate a group of American citizens hours before our troops left the country for good.
The botched evacuation makes the Biden administration culpable for any stranded Americans getting harmed in the Taliban-controlled Islamic Emirate. But their rhetoric before the fall of the Afghan government makes them just as responsible. Any horrors that result from their cowardice and incompetence fall squarely on their shoulders. Not the victims.
On June 7, 2021, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and insisted the U.S. was not withdrawing and our embassy would remain. He said, “If there is a significant deterioration in security, I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.” The statement is ironic now as Afghanistan did fall over a weekend, but at the time, it was an expression of confidence that America would maintain influence inside Afghanistan.
On July 5, the U.S. military and contractors left Bagram Air Base unexpectedly. NATO forces had departed a few days prior. While this left the Afghan military exceptionally well equipped, it impacted its ability to maintain and repair the planes and helicopters that were vital to preserving air supremacy. When the U.S. abandoned Bagram, the Taliban was already advancing, with several northern districts falling under its control. Afghan fighters by the hundreds fled across the border into Tajikistan rather than fight the Taliban.
Yet, on July 8, 2021, President Biden gave a briefing on Afghanistan. At that time, he called the process a drawdown and announced the U.S. military mission would conclude on August 31. The president also expressed significant confidence in the Afghan government and military in maintaining control of the nation. He said:
Together, with our NATO Allies and partners, we have trained and equipped over three hu- — nearly 300,000 current serving members of the military — of the Afghan National Security Force, and many beyond that who are no longer serving. Add to that, hundreds of thousands more Afghan National Defense and Security Forces trained over the last two decades.
We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools — let me emphasize: all the tools, training, and equipment of any modern military. We provided advanced weaponry. And we’re going to continue to provide funding and equipment. And we’ll ensure they have the capacity to maintain their air force.
If you were an American in Afghanistan visiting family, as several families from the Sacramento, California area were, it sounded as if America would still be supporting the military they built. Biden said a diplomatic presence would be maintained, leading them to believe there would be a U.S. embassy to access. He also said the United States and its allies would continue to secure HKIA.
When asked if a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable, Biden responded, “No, it is not. Because you — the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.” There was no urgent message for Americans to leave. Biden only extended an open invitation for those who assisted the U.S. military to apply for a Special Immigrant Visa and a plea to Congress to streamline the process. The rationale was these Afghans would be out of a job when we left, not that the Taliban would have the power to mark them for death.
On July 23, Biden talked of the need for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to counter the perception the Taliban was gaining power in the pair’s final phone call. Biden praised the Afghan military and offered to provide close air support. He also committed the U.S. to fight politically, economically, and diplomatically for the Afghan government’s survival. Nothing in the call transcript indicates Biden was concerned about an imminent collapse.
If the administration did not anticipate the complete collapse 23 days later, how were Americans in Afghanistan supposed to understand the urgency to leave? In a fast-moving offensive, the Taliban overtook Bagram Air Base on August 15, taking possession of the equipment we had provided the Afghan military. The advancing militants also released an estimated 5,000 prisoners, many of whom were terrorists. The same day, the Taliban entered the Presidential Palace after Ghani fled with other members of the government.
Caught off guard, the U.S. started to airlift embassy staff to HKIA. The need to leave became urgent nearly overnight, and the diplomatic presence at a functioning embassy disappeared. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president later committed to remaining until the military safely evacuated every American. This statement should go down as the most egregious lie in American political history.
For President Biden to address the nation in a petulant and angry tone and tell Americans that he instructed his National Security team to prepare for every eventuality, even collapse, rings hollow. If he did, Biden should fire every last one of them. When he says, “Since March, we reached out 19 times to Americans in Afghanistan, with multiple warnings and offers to help them leave Afghanistan,” it should make you wonder why he continued to let Americans go to Afghanistan if the danger was so acute.
The Sacramento families traveled to Afghanistan in May and June. In a disgusting attempt at victim-blaming, the Biden administration wants you to believe the families, including a confirmed 24 minors, are to blame for their dangerous predicament. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And sadly, they are not alone with the “few hundreds” of Americans the administration claims are stranded in Afghanistan.