U.S. soldiers and marines assist with security at an Evacuation Control Checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 19, 2021. (Staff Sergeant Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps)
If he wishes, President Biden can pretend that everything is going to plan and that what we are seeing on our screens is a triumph. But it’s not, and in no area is this as obvious as his betrayal of the “former Afghan military interpreters or other close U.S. allies” he once flatly promised he would help.
Today, the New York Times reports that:
On Monday, a State Department official said that some former Afghan military interpreters or other close U.S. allies, a designated priority group for evacuations, were being turned away from the airport by American officials in order to give priority to U.S. passport and Green Card holders in recent days. The official was not authorized to brief the press, and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official’s account was supported by interviews with Afghans who have approached the airport in recent days, and with American veterans’ groups and other organizations that have tried to organize evacuations for interpreters and other Afghans at risk from the Taliban.
Clearly, this was not the expectation, as Joe Biden made clear back in June:
The Biden administration will evacuate thousands of Afghan interpreters as the U.S. military withdraws from the country, with planning speeding up this week as Afghan leaders visit the White House and the Pentagon.
“We’ve already begun the process,” said President Joe Biden, speaking with reporters outside the White House on June 24. “Those who helped us are not going to be left behind.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this week that about 18,000 people have expressed interest in using the Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans to come to the United States as Afghanistan has grown more violent with Taliban gains.
“The idea here is to be able to facilitate their departure from Afghanistan to another location so that they can complete the SIV process,” Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said June 24, adding that it is not known how many could come to the United States.
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