Over the past week, reports have surfaced revealing that the Biden administration has been making it rather difficult for Americans and Afghan allies who are still stuck in Afghanistan to make their escape. Due to the White House’s incompetence, private entities have taken it upon themselves to get as many Americans and allies out of the country as possible.
Fox News recently reported on an email sent from the State Department to Eric Montalvo, a private citizen who has been setting up flights out of Afghanistan to rescue those still trapped there. The official who sent the email told Montalvo that he would not be allowed to fly people to other countries in the region or the United States. The email read:
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 also said that while some other countries could require approval from the State Department, none would be forthcoming. He wrote:
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.
While Biden’s State Department seems intent on preventing Americans from being evacuated from Afghanistan, it has no problem taking credit when some manage to make it out of the country. When four Americans managed to escape to a different country, the department deceptively claimed it facilitated their rescue.
During a press briefing on Sept 2, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and State Department spokesman Ned Price claimed the Biden administration was not keeping planes from flying out of Kabul’s airport. However, Price also pointed out that allowing charter flights on military bases carries security risks. He said:
“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.”
He continued: “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.”
However, during a conversation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Mills pointed out there are ways to vet and verify the individuals trying to leave Afghanistan to make sure they are not actually radical extremists attempting to infiltrate the United States. He said:
“When we worked with the State Department here in this certain country, we provided passport photos. We allowed them to try and check the biometrics. We had done all of our due diligence. We identified where and which district these individuals were from. For example, they are from Texas 13. Yeah, I understand that there is a near-far recognition piece of this. I understand that … we cannot allow any type of terrorist to get onto aircraft or to try and get across borders at the help or behest of any of the Americans.”
Mills also argued that there is “a relatively easy way for us to go ahead and gather necessary documents and then allow them to vet before” extricating people from the region.
But the question one must ask in response to this debacle is: Why?
What does the Biden administration gain from preventing American civilians and Afghan allies from being rescued by people like Montalvo and Mills? The answer lies in the nature of the entities responsible for extricating these individuals.
The fact of the matter is that these private individuals and organizations working to remove American civilians from danger are only doing so because Biden failed to evacuate them. If the president had done his job properly, there would be no need for private rescue efforts. It is yet another indicator that President Joe Biden has failed to handle this situation effectively.
Moreover, it is important to point out that if and when these private entities can finally get these individuals out of Afghanistan, it will represent quite an embarrassment for the White House. It is a humiliation that Biden’s team would rather avoid if possible.
However, the State Department’s stall tactics cannot work forever. The longer these people remain trapped in Kabul, the more danger they could face. If the Taliban or ISIS-K decided to harm these individuals, it could create a stain on Biden’s presidency from which he would not recover. However, at this point, this might be negligible. The situation might have already sunk Democrats’ chances for victory in 2022 and 2024.