The State Department’s actions during the chaotic and incompetently run evacuation of American citizens from Afghanistan have been inexplicable. Why are they putting up all these roadblocks that prevent private, non-U.S. government-approved flights from taking off in Afghanistan?
Better question: Why isn’t the State Department allowing these flights to land at airports run by the U.S. Department of Defense?
It’s almost as if the Biden administration doesn’t see the PR value in having Americans rescued unless the flights can be credited to the actions of the White House or State Department.
The actions — more specifically, the non-actions — of the Biden State Department in facilitating private rescue actions by individuals and groups should be seen in the context of the administration trying to control the “rescue narrative” to garner the greatest possible political benefit from the flights out of Afghanistan.
Eric Montalvo, who organized a series of private flights evacuating those stranded in Afghanistan, shared that email and others with Fox News after his evacuation efforts were repeatedly hampered by the federal bureaucracy.
A Sept. 1 email that a State Department official sent to Montalvo underscores the extent to which private evacuation efforts have run into bureaucratic roadblocks.
“No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power. In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land,” the official wrote.
“You need to find another destination country, and it can’t be the U.S. either.”
So where the hell are these planes full of desperate Americans wanting to leave the clutches of the Taliban supposed to go?
“Once you have had discussions with the host/destination country and reached an agreement, they may require some indication from the USG that we ‘approve’ of this charter flight. DOS will not provide an approval, but we will provide a ‘no objection’ to the destination country government via the U.S. Embassy in that country.”
How very big-hearted of them.
The administration’s excuse is that they don’t want to upset the Taliban. They feel that facilitating flights out of Afghanistan without the consent of the Taliban would embarrass the terrorists. And the last thing the U.S. wants to do is upset the delicate sensibilities of the head-choppers.
“If these charters are seeking to go to a U.S. military installation, for example, we have to weigh not only the threat to those who may be on board – especially if they’re American citizens, LPRs, other Afghans to whom we have a special commitment – but also to the safety and security of State Department personnel, U.S. military personnel, Department of Homeland Security personnel, other U.S. personnel on U.S. military installations,” Price said.
“These are among the risks that the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the host government – which, of course, has an important say in all this – must consider,” he added.
“Without personnel on the ground, we can’t verify the accuracy of manifests, the identities of passengers, flight plans, or aviation security protocols,” says the State Department. Apparently, the word given by special forces vets and other veterans must be thoroughly vetted and they don’t want to be bothered.
Rick Clay, who runs the private rescue group PlanB, previously told Fox News that the State Department is the only thing preventing the flights he’s organizing from leaving Afghanistan. Other organizers of separate rescue missions echoed Clay’s criticisms to Fox News.
The Biden administration swears on a stack of Bibles that the Taliban is not hindering the evacuation of any Americans with valid passports. Not only is that a load of bull, but it’s something that Congress will look at specifically as Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal has been enraged at the Taliban’s actions and the Biden administration’s response to them.
The media has already moved on and refuses to cover the continuing catastrophe in Afghanistan. An unknown number of Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan — left behind by Joe Biden. Since there is a lousy accounting of which Americans are still there, we will probably never be sure we got them all out.