by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Biden administration says it does not know how many U.S. citizens are in Afghanistan hoping to leave in the face of the American withdrawal and Taliban takeover. For days, Pentagon officials said they had no ability to venture outside the Kabul airport to find those Americans and bring them to safety.
Now, the military says it is doing just that. “The Pentagon is ramping up evacuations from Kabul’s airport by deploying American helicopters and troops into select spots in Kabul to extract stranded American citizens and Afghan allies,” the New York Times reports. …
But here’s the thing: The Biden administration will not admit that there are Americans “stranded” in Afghanistan. In a surreal exchange in the White House briefing room, spokeswoman Jen Psaki pushed back against Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, who asked about criticism of President Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops “before getting these Americans who are now stranded.”
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“First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded,” Psaki responded. “They are not. We are committed to bringing Americans, who want to come home, home…”
Doocy then asked if the official White House position was that “There are no Americans stranded?”
“I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan,” Psaki said, “when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home.”
Just for the record: There is some number, likely thousands, of Americans who want to get out of Afghanistan but who cannot safely travel through the country, much less get through Taliban lines around the Kabul airport. They are stranded. Hundreds of news reports in the past week have made reference to that simple fact.