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Joe Biden and his handlers, along with top Pentagon and State Department officials, share culpability for tragic human and national security consequences of an ill-conceived Afghanistan U.S. troop withdrawal transparently timed for vainglorious Sept. 11 20th anniversary victory lap optics.
Instead, that debacle has abandoned hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of allies stranded at the mercy of Taliban victors has left the U.S. blind to regional terrorist buildups, and has emboldened and empowered our adversaries to provoke future attacks on our mainland.
Epic blunders involved: staging the troop draw-down during the height of the warm summer Taliban fighting season and before American civilians and friendly at-risk Afghans were evacuated; abandoning our most strategic Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night without informing the Afghan military and our NATO allies, and leaving behind more than $80 billion of equipment and weaponry that has made the Taliban one of the world’s best-equipped military forces.
Taliban trophies include more than 100 helicopters, including 33 Black Hawks, four C-130 transport planes, and about 60 other fixed-wing aircraft.
Joe Biden has repeated the tagline that ”we will never leave anyone behind” in several speeches, including the one he gave in the run-up to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Most egregiously, he did exactly that when ordering the hasty, chaotic, and deadly August 31 turn-tail Afghanistan surrender that has left hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of allied supporters helplessly stranded with no foreseeable rescue plan.
In addition, 13 of our brave military service people who did return, were brought back in caskets.
They were casualties of terrorist suicide bombers amid crowded bedlam outside closed gates of the Hamid Karzai International Airport which was being ”protected” by militant Taliban gatekeepers who surrounded the facility.
American civilians and documented allies who had risked perilous journeys to reach those gates amid threats, violence, and intimidation were repeatedly turned away following U.S. Embassy warnings to avoid traveling to the airport and to stay away from certain entry points citing ”security threats.”
Embassy alerts told Americans to avoid traveling to the airport ”unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative.”
Although the U.S. State Department now claims that more than 124,000 people have been evacuated from the country in recent weeks, initial assessments suggest that most of the fleeing Afghan applicants for American Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) status didn’t make it through Taliban checkpoints or the Kabul airport crush where an estimated 200 were killed in the suicide bombing assault.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that while the actual number of Americans left behind ”who wish to leave” is unknown, the rough estimate is less than 200.
Yes, rough indeed.
On Aug. 25, Blinken had told reporters, ”Based on our analysis, starting on Aug. 14, when our evacuation operations began, there was then a population of as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave.” Over the previous 10 days, he said, only about 4,500 of those people and their immediate family members were safely evacuated.
Those other remaining Americans are scattered far and wide throughout Afghanistan surrounded by Taliban, al-Qaeda, and ISIS militants.
Escape for most of those who are trapped will be difficult or impossible.
Since none of Afghanistan’s airports are currently open, those at-risk Americans and Afghans who were unable to enter the airport in Kabul before the international airlift ended must seek land routes.
Also, while the Taliban have said they would allow Afghans with valid passports and visas to travel out of the country, all passport-issuing Western embassies—along with India— have permanently closed, and their diplomats are gone.
The closest crossing point to Pakistan from Kabul going east to Torkham is closed to Afghans, other than in exceptional cases such as medical emergencies.
The other main alternative, south from Kabul at Chaman, is open — but only to those with documents to show they live close to the border in compliance with longstanding mutual arrangements between these adjacent areas.
Entering Iran is an even tougher option because only those with visas or other travel documents are allowed to cross.
The resettlement of Afghan refugees outside the region is another challenging matter.
Anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe has become a major political issue in the wake of the 2015 Syrian refugee influx, although the EU and some member states say they will accept some at-risk Afghans as part of an international settlement program.
The U.K. said it would offer asylum to up to 20,000 Afghans over the next five years in addition to those airlifted out in August.
Biden’s painful Afghanistan withdrawal pains include a nightmarish evacuee vetting and resettlement national security problem to screen out terrorist elements here in America.
As Jessica Vaughn, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, observes, ”The SIV program is in chaos, just like the rest of the Biden administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal … Their plan to just bring people into the United States, plop them onto active military bases and sort it all out later is a terrible one. Anyone can see that.”
The Defense Department has made space available for 2,500 people at Fort Lee in Virginia. The Pentagon has said it will add space at two other bases, Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin with a total goal to accommodate up to 22,000 people.
R.J. Hauman, head of government relations at Federation for American Immigration Reform, predicts, ”This is a national disaster waiting to happen.”
The DoD has passed this vetting process fiasco to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security which is already overwhelmed dealing with another Biden administration-caused human and natural security crisis … an unprecedented surge of illegal crossers at the U.S. southern border.
Even more terrifying, recognize that all of this unmitigated disaster has occurred — along with skyrocketing domestic crime rates and inflation — in merely his first half-year in office!
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