Exactly how long does it take to plan an emergency airlift?
Put planes on the ground, load the people up, and get them out of there.
We’ve been screaming since May for Joe Biden to do exactly that for the Afghan interpreters and others who aided the U.S. cause during the war in Afghanistan. He said he would “start” flying people out at the end of July. We said the window was closing, and he had limited time.
Unfortunately, that’s proven correct. While he’s gotten a small number of people out, more than 18,000 are still in Afghanistan, with many of them now in areas that the Taliban have taken over. Many people fleeing the Taliban have flooded into Kabul. The State Department has said that thousands more might qualify for the refugee resettlement program, but the criteria aren’t clear and they would have to get to a third country on their own in order to qualify, which at this point, is almost impossible for many.
The Taliban has now taken over about two-thirds of the country, and their next target is Kabul. The U.S. has sent troops in to help evacuate the U.S. Embassy in the city. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said this week that the troops would be helping to try to get the interpreters/allies out as well. “Additional flights will begin landing daily, and you’re going to see the total number grow very quickly in the coming days and the coming weeks,” Mr. Price said.
Coming weeks? The U.S. Embassy is burning documents and destroying equipment. The Taliban are practically at the gates of Kabul. Exactly how much time do you think you have left? It’s a horrible thing to say, but many are probably going to die now because Biden has waited too long.
The people who helped us are now pleading for their lives.
Rahmat said he was relieved when the Central Intelligence Agency phoned him for an interview and, weeks later, arranged to shelter him on an Afghan base while the State Department processed his application for a visa to flee Afghanistan.
He feared the Taliban were hunting him down for his work spying for the CIA in remote border areas of Afghanistan for almost a decade, and lacked the paperwork to apply for a visa. But Rahmat isn’t in the clear.
The Taliban are advancing on Kabul, and even if he can make it to the capital from his hideout in a province hours away, the Afghan commander of the base has since told him he can’t shelter there.
“I’m very worried,” he said in a text message. “We are feeling in danger here. Please save our family.”
“I don’t want to die,” Faridoon Hazeen wrote to Fox News in an email.
He later said on the phone, “I feel like a man drowning….I am reaching out to anything and anyone to save me.”
The 39-year-old father of four is just one of the thousands of people in Afghanistan who could be at the top of a kill list if the Taliban were to fully take over the country. He has been trying for years to get a U.S. visa, with no luck. He said he’s emailed the U.S. embassy in Kabul four times but has received no clear response.
He spoke of a nearby mosque where worshippers were told that when the Taliban comes they will deal with those who worked with foreigners first. He said he’s gotten nearly a dozen calls in the last 10 days with threats against his life. He fears Taliban-friendly neighbors will turn him in.
He’s already sent his family away from his home and fears especially for his wife and 11-year-old daughter. In areas that the Taliban has occupied, there are reports of women and girls being taken as wives of Taliban fighters.
Hazeen said he believed Taliban had already infiltrated Kabul. “I am just waiting for the Taliban to kill me,” he said.
I wrote about Sohail Pardis who worked for the U.S.; the Taliban beheaded him for that work in May. It was already bad then.
The problem now is that because Biden didn’t act sooner, many are trapped behind Taliban lines and likely can’t be saved. It’s too late. The ones in Kabul or the surrounding area might be able to get out, but only if it’s done immediately.
We are the most powerful country in the world and this is how we treated those who helped us when we needed them. It’s not only shameful, it’s about to become a huge tragedy.