According to many participants in a conference call with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (and other high officials on Friday), Westerners attempting to flee Afghanistan were pummeled by Taliban fighters.
Austin’s comments to members of the House seemed to completely undermine President Biden’s judgment from moments prior. A while back, Biden claimed the US was unaware of Americans having difficulty getting through Taliban roadblocks and to Kabul’s airfield, the nation’s only non-Taliban departure option.
It’s a Fact US Citizens are Under Attack
Austin said stories of the Taliban’s physical abuse were intolerable during the conference call; however, he didn’t go into detail about efforts to assure Americans’ safe journey to Hamid Karzai Airport Terminal in Kabul.
Austin refused to “rule in or out” the notion of US soldiers advancing further than the airport to assist Americans and many others in reaching shelter.
— Ai News (@OfficialAINews) August 19, 2021
According to various sources, Austin mentioned on the phone that certain people, especially Americans, had been mistreated and even assaulted by the Taliban. This is wrong, as Austin said they made plain to the Taliban’s designated leader.
While asked about Austin’s comments, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reaffirmed that some have told the militants they expect unrestricted passage for registered Americans via these roadblocks.
— Intel Air & Sea (@air_intel) August 21, 2021
The House news conference included comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley; it will be the first of several others in the days ahead as legislators seek clarification about the failed US withdrawal and the Taliban’s breathtaking rise to power.
At least four Democrat-led congressional investigations already promised to hold inquiries and examine Biden’s handling of the withdrawal which has sparked bipartisan outrage.
The Number of Evacuation Flights is Being Increased
Milley told Congress that the Army would increase the number of C-17 extraction missions from Kabul from 12 to significantly more than 30 per day in the upcoming weeks, according to sources online.
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 22, 2021
On Friday, Biden pledged for the very first time to remove all US partners in Afghanistan who wish to leave the nation, repeating a promise he made previously to citizens. Austin also revealed that the US Army has “totally” agreed to remove elite Afghan soldiers who assisted Americans throughout the war effort.
Conservatives have been the harshest opponents of Biden’s decision to leave the war-torn nation, which he revealed in April. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy branded the retreat an “enormous error” during a briefing call on Friday.
McCarthy pressured Austin to rebuild the Bagram Military Airport, which was the throbbing core of the US combat operation in Afghanistan for years. Sadly, it was closed and deserted early this year when the US expedited its withdrawal. In comparison to Kabul, Bagram boasts two runways, which might help speed up the departure of Westerners and Afghan friends.