The State Department appears to be doing everything it can to prevent private organizations from rescuing people from Afghanistan. Earlier reports suggested the Taliban was preventing flights carrying American civilians and Afghan allies from leaving the airport. However, many on the ground have also pointed the finger at the Biden administration for placing obstacles in the paths of those seeking to extricate these individuals from the country.
In a recent appearance on CNN with Chris Cuomo, U.S. military veteran and Republican congressional candidate Cory Mills criticized the State Department for hindering efforts to help the remaining American civilians and Afghan allies leave Afghanistan. Mills explained:
“We had flyover approval, everything necessary to put the aircraft on the ground, had an hour’s time on the ground, could have loaded … our team that were just outside the gates, got them on, and got them out. And that was the original plan that was thwarted by the State Department and the DoD, where they essentially tried to deny our PPR, put us in pattern for almost 15 minutes and then even said that if you land this aircraft that we’re going to go ahead and take the aircraft certificate, we’re going to ground the pilots and then even have an F-16 go ahead.”
Mills, a decorated combat veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, further explained how the State Department hampered the effort to get Americans out of Afghanistan. He recounted how in one instance, his team was attempting to get families out of Kabul and move them to a different area but was stopped by the Biden administration in D.C. He said:
“[The families] were manifesting on another aircraft. That aircraft had been approved by the Taliban, had been approved by the DoD, had been approved by the State Department. And right before the nth hour when it was ready to fly, the State Department went ahead and cancelled that flight or disapproved that flight because they wanted to vet the manifest, which I can understand and appreciate.”
Cuomo brought up the State Department’s argument that they had to slow-walk the process to ensure the individuals Mills’ team was trying to rescue were fully vetted before being transported to the United States. The veteran responded by acknowledging that he “can agree with them 100%” when it comes to ensuring terrorists are not infiltrating the groups leaving Afghanistan. But 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.”
However, Mills also contended that “there’s an answer” to this issue and that “there is a verification point which we can all kind of come to an agreement on.” The veteran continued, stating that he doesn’t “want that to be the thing that prevents us from saving Americans” when there is “a relatively easy way for us to go ahead and gather necessary documents and then allow them to vet before” getting them out of the country.
Mills’ conversation with Cuomo was just the latest in a series of officials pointing the finger at Biden’s State Department as the primary culprit when it comes to preventing Americans from escaping Afghanistan. Many have pointed out what we already know: These people’s lives are in danger and it does not seem that the Biden administration is willing to do much about it.
It seems that after the August 31 deadline to remove troops from the region, the president and his team are phoning it in on Afghanistan. Instead of being fully engaged in rescuing American citizens and Afghans who assisted the U.S. military, they are actively trying to make it more difficult for the private entities to which the rescue effort has fallen. The fact that someone like Chris Cuomo is criticizing the White House over this issue is telling. While Democrats are hoping Americans move on from this debacle, it is clear the issue isn’t going away anytime soon.