If one wasn’t paying attention, they might believe the situation in Afghanistan has finally been resolved and that everyone who wanted to leave the region has been flown to safety. Given the fact that most mainstream activist media outlets seem to have moved on from the disaster caused by President Joseph Robinette Biden, one could be excused for not being aware of the fact that the situation for many of those still trapped in the country remains dire.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “60,000 Afghan interpreters and others who have applied for visas to seek shelter in the U.S. after working alongside American forces still remain in Afghanistan” according to a State Department official.
About 33,000 Afghans, including principal applicants and their families, have already cleared the more-onerous vetting requirements and could be eligible for immediate evacuation. This is the first time that the State Department has provided a number on those left behind since the Afghanistan government collapsed this summer.
A total of 62,000 Afghans are believed to have been left behind, the official said.
The evacuation flights are being facilitated by Qatar and local organizers. “Seats are prioritized for Americans and U.S. residents, but some are available for Afghans who have cleared vetting in the visa application process,” according to the Journal.
A State Department official told WSJ that the 29,000 visa applicants that are still waiting to be evacuated are in the early stages of the application process. The U.S. is vetting these individuals to verify their work history and to make sure they are not tied to any terrorist groups.
The U.S. is still co-organizing a few flights per week, but the entire process could continue into 2022. If and when the 29,000 applicants get through the vetting process, they and their immediate family members would be eligible for evacuation.
Those who have not been evacuated from the country are “increasingly desperate to leave due to deteriorating economic conditions in the country,” according to the report. Many of these individuals could also be in danger from the Taliban, which has rounded some of them up to punish them for assisting the U.S. military during the war.
The Journal also reported:
In the chaotic evacuation effort that took place in the summer, the U.S. and its allies evacuated over 100,000 Afghans. Some made it through the crowds at Kabul airport without paperwork, while American citizens and visa applicants were unable to enter and board flights. More than 70,000 Afghans arrived in the U.S.
The State Department said afterward it believed the majority of Afghans who worked alongside the U.S.-led NATO coalition had been left behind.
The White House vowed to remove all Americans from the country after the Taliban began taking over, however Biden did not make the same promise to Afghan allies who helped the military. Since Kabul fell to the terrorist group, the U.S. has relocated 479 Americans and 450 U.S. residents and their families, according to the State Department. It has also removed 2,200 Afghan visa applicants. Less than a dozen U.S. citizens who wish to leave Afghanistan are still stranded.
However, volunteer groups who have facilitated private evacuation flights indicated that the number of Americans stranded in the region is higher than the State Department’s estimates. “This is because the U.S. won’t let them bring dependent family members,” according to the WSJ.
The State Department insisted it must follow U.S. immigration law and only allow those who are eligible to enter the U.S. to be evacuated. Too bad they don’t take that same approach to the situation at the southern border, right?
Those still trapped in Afghanistan are stuck in a precarious situation – at risk of becoming hostages if the Taliban decides to get froggy. The circumstances for Afghan allies could be even worse when facing the problem of a terrorist group seeking retribution. Nearly four months after the Biden administration botched the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Americans and allies are still unable to get to safety.
This problem is the Biden administration’s fault – and theirs alone. Their decision to prioritize an arbitrary deadline over ensuring that everyone was evacuated was a blunder of Vietnam-like proportions. An yet, you don’t hear a peep from the likes of CNN’s Don Lemon or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Their lack of interest is telling – but not surprising.