Earlier in the week, Antony Blinken, the Biden administration’s Secretary of State, insisted that the Taliban was not blocking any private evacuation flights. Blinken claimed that the Biden administration has “been assured, again,” that all American and Afghan citizens in possession of “valid travel documents” will be permitted to leave.
“It’s my understanding that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document,” Blinken continued.
However, just 24 hours later, Blinken abruptly reversed his position, admitting an inconvenient truth. Per Blinken, the Taliban apparently has opted to start blocking evacuation flights at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport, which is located in northern Afghanistan.
From the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Blinken confirmed “as of now,” the terrorist organization is not permitting private charter flights to depart from the airport. Apparently, the Taliban informed Blinken that some individuals lack “the required documentation,” though many are left wondering why the United States is merely accepting the Taliban’s claims as a reasonable excuse for continuing to block flights.
Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart.”
These flights include American citizens. pic.twitter.com/HbJVMAsFHt
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 8, 2021
Blinken also belabored the obvious by admitting that the Biden administration has “limits” regarding what it apparently can and cannot do with the Taliban “without personnel on the ground.” However, Blinken claimed that the Biden administration is presumably using everything within its power “to support these flights and to get them off the ground.”
In the days leading up to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden, Blinken, and the Pentagon all claimed that the United States would continue to maintain a diplomatic presence at its embassy in Kabul. However, due to the nature of the withdrawal, no diplomatic or military presence could remain in Afghanistan, which in turn made the administration dependent on the Taliban for goodwill.
Unfortunately, as the Mazar-i-Sharif hostage situation reveals, the Taliban cannot be depended upon for goodwill.
Since no American troops or diplomats remain in Afghanistan, it is not clear exactly what Blinken is referring to when he stated that the Biden administration has done “everything in [its] power” to bring evacuees safely out of Afghanistan. In other words, if Biden was unable to retrieve evacuees from the nation when American diplomats and troops were still on the ground, then it remains unclear how Biden will be able to take further measures with no American presence on the ground.
In addition, Blinken’s abrupt reversal also fully exonerates commentary from Michael McCaul, who warned that Americans were being held hostage by the Taliban. While Democrats heavily criticized McCaul for this remarks, though Blinken’s change of position invalidates their criticism and exonerates McCaul’s original observation.
STUCK ON PLANES: @RepMcCaul says Americans and Afghan interpreters have been held hostage by the Taliban for days at the Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport in Afghanistan. #FoxNewsSunday pic.twitter.com/2gJfxNTIfJ
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) September 5, 2021
While Blinken finally moves nearer to reality, it becomes clearer than ever that Biden did not exactly achieve “extraordinary success” in the Afghanistan withdrawal.