News & Politics

Spin Cycle: Biden's Chief of Staff Dodges CNN's Questions About the Developing Hostage Situation in Afghanistan

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain clearly still seeks to win news cycles and hopes the deadly Afghanistan fiasco — not to mention other issues causing his boss’ polls to crater — fades from the public view.

Sunday morning on CNN, Klain deftly avoided answering important questions.

Host Dana Bash asked, “More than 100 American citizens were left behind when the last military flight left Kabul earlier this week. What is their status right now?”

Klain quipped, “We’re in touch with all of them who we have identified on a regular basis. Obviously, we’re hopeful that, in the coming days, the Qataris will be able to resume air service out of Kabul. And, if they do, we’re obviously going to look to see if Americans can be part of those flights.”

He then peddled the myth that “we know many of them have family members. Many of them want to stay.”

It is actually more likely that those people staying are more afraid of leaving family members behind than actually desiring to remain.

Klain did not say if any Americans have been liberated from Afghanistan in the past week.

On Special Immigrant Visas, Bash said, “The question is whether or not you’re hearing what we believe are credible reports about the Taliban systematically hunting them down, and killing them. Have you heard about that, and what is the administration doing about it? “

Related: Ben Sasse Rips Biden for Refusing to Discuss Afghanistan

Klain claimed, “We’re in close communication with our sources and our contacts in Afghanistan to try to get those SIVs out, to get them out safely. I know that some are coming out by land. We are again, continuing to work on efforts to get them out by air as well.”

He then returned to his talking points, boasting that “we launched a historic airlift that brought 124,000 people out of Afghanistan, American citizens, legal permanent residents of this country, residents of other countries, and a lot of Afghan nationals. And we are going to get those people to safety. We’re ultimately going to resettle them.”

Meanwhile, the Taliban is using family members of Afghan refugees in the U.S. as hostages and, as Rep. Michael McCaul, top Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday, blocking members from leaving, essentially creating a hostage situation.

“Because this administration ignored the warnings of the intelligence community assessments, overrode the top generals, we find ourselves in this very precarious, dangerous situation where the Taliban is now dictating terms to us, where they are dictating the terms of our exit strategy, dictating whether Americans can leave are not or the interpreters,” McCaul told Chris Wallace. “I warned the administration for months to get the Americans out, but also establish this ISR capability, which we have none now. Now we’re left in this very desperate situation, a very bad foreign policy of having to negotiate with the Taliban, which I was always skeptical of having to do.”