Anyone who has been sorta awake for the past two weeks knows that the situation there is an absolute disaster. As we approach the deadline for an exit, the Biden White House brags about over 100,000 people being evacuated; it’s a second Berlin Airlift, doncha know? (See If You Think Afghanistan Is a Disaster You’re Missing the Big Picture. Get Ready to Be Told It Is the New Berlin Airlift.) That number is deceptive in the extreme.
Kirby says of more than 100,000 evacuated, under 7,000 Afghan SIVs — those who helped us during the war — are in the US and being processed.
(That's actually a low number compared to the total number of Afghan SIVs who have helped our troops/diplomats across 20 years of war).
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) August 27, 2021
Total, by US and Allies.https://t.co/m5wuqxykor ‘Since August the 14th we have evacuated more than 104,000 civilians from HKIA, over 66,000 by the United States and over 37,000 by our allies and partners. And that includes bringing out about 5,000 Americans.’
— Gale 🍁 (@Gale20834747) August 27, 2021
That’s 11,000 friendlies. I’m not all that clear on who the other 90,000 are.
Even with this number, there are a few thousand Americans still unaccounted for. Some of those may have left the country by other means, but most of those will be left behind in Kabul, where we are relying upon the Taliban to evacuate them…this, of course, begs the question of why, if the Taliban will evacuate them when we leave, why are we there at all?
Out of this mess, there is some good news. Two US Congressmen decided to take an unaccompanied and unannounced trip to Kabul to see for themselves the scope of the problem. Of course, the Pentagon went bonkers, but that’s what petty tyrants do when confronted; see Nothing Says ‘Highly Organized’ Like Two Congressmen Visiting Kabul and No One Telling the White House or Pentagon About it. ABC is also reporting good news:
With the Taliban growing more violent and adding checkpoints near Kabul’s airport, an all-volunteer group of American veterans of the Afghan war launched a final daring mission on Wednesday night dubbed the “Pineapple Express” to shepherd hundreds of at-risk Afghan elite forces and their families to safety, members of the group told ABC News.
Moving after nightfall in near-pitch black darkness and extremely dangerous conditions, the group said it worked unofficially in tandem with the United States military and U.S. embassy to move people, sometimes one person at a time, or in pairs, but rarely more than a small bunch, inside the wire of the U.S. military-controlled side of Hamid Karzai International Airport.
As of Thursday morning, the group said it had brought as many as 500 Afghan special operators, assets and enablers and their families into the airport in Kabul overnight, handing them each over to the protective custody of the U.S. military.
That number added to more than 130 others over the past 10 days who had been smuggled into the airport encircled by Taliban fighters since the capital fell to the extremists on Aug. 16 by Task Force Pineapple, an ad hoc groups of current and former U.S. special operators, aid workers, intelligence officers and others with experience in Afghanistan who banded together to save as many Afghan allies as they could.
While it is great to see this kind of esprit de corps between former Special Operations Forces operators and between them and their Afghan counterparts, it is a crying shame that these guys had to go on their own dime to Kabul and then operate without any of the even flimsy protections provided by the Law of Land Warfare when you are in contact with the Taliban…arguably, they were operating in violation of the UN Mercenary Convention…because the US Armed Forces at Hamid Karzai International Airport were forbidden to do this kind of operation (see British Evacuation Commander Says He’s Cut out of US-Taliban Discussions Plus the Best Rumor of the Day).