Some within the administration do not agree with President Joe Biden that the Afghanistan withdrawal was an ‘extraordinary success’
Staffers inside Joe Biden’s administration are ‘horrified’ with the Afghanistan withdrawal, do not view the mission as a success and are disgusted American citizens are on the ground.
‘I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,’ one administration official told Politico on Tuesday. ‘It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO, and we have failed that no-fail mission.’
An NEO is a noncombatant evacuation operation. Another White House official told Politico that the mission cannot be labeled as accomplished if Americans are left behind.
The fury from inside administration was reported as Republicans tore into the president over his call with ex-Afghanistan President Ghani that shows he knew the local army was collapsing and polls showed his approval ratings slipping further.
There are still American citizens trying to get out of Kabul, thousands of Afghan allies have been left behind and the Taliban have been openly flaunting the weapons the US left behind.
On Tuesday night the president declared the total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan an ‘extraordinary success,’ despite widespread criticism over Biden’s handling of the situation over the last month.
‘I give you my word with all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, the wise decision, and the best decision for America,’ Biden said in Tuesday remarks – the first after the last U.S. soldier left Kabul on Monday afternoon.
He made these claims despite the withdrawal leading to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members on Thursday after a ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated their vest outside the Kabul airport.
‘I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,’ one administration said. ‘It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans… and we have failed that no-fail mission’
Biden admitted that he is to blame for the deaths – as well as all the events surrounding the withdrawal.
In his openly defiant remarks, however, the president said the operation in Afghanistan couldn’t have been completed in a ‘more orderly manner’. He specifically doubled-down on critics that claim he should have started the evacuation sooner, claiming he ‘respectfully disagrees’ with them.
The president has repeatedly reiterated over the last month his dedication to his decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline, claiming he didn’t want to pass along the two-decade-long war onto a fifth president.
‘This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,’ Biden said on Tuesday.
Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed their opposition to Biden’s handling of the troop pull out, especially after at least 100 American citizens were left behind so the president could keep his commitment to the Taliban to be out by the end of August.
Polls have shown that American voters are also turning against the president as his approval rating dropped to an all time low of 47 per cent in the last week.
A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday shows only three in 10 registered voters approve of the way Biden handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan, while a whopping 61 per cent disapprove of the execution of ending the war.
Families of the fallen U.S. service members were left disappointed by Joe Biden at the dignified transfer on Sunday. One sister of a fallen Marine yelled at the president: ‘I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!’
During the remarks on Tuesday marking the end of the war in Afghanistan, Biden did not take questions from reporters.
‘The fundamental obligation of a President is to defend America,’ he said Tuesday. ‘Not against the threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow.’
Biden administration ERASES records of the $83 billion worth of weapons, training and aid given to Afghanistan’s armed forces since 2002
The Biden administration has begun scrubbing public records detailing the $82.9 billion U.S. investment in Afghanistan’s armed forces to protect Afghan officials and military officers from Taliban reprisals.
Federal agencies have been told to remove information detailing the colossal investment from website as Afghanistan’s new rulers show off their newly acquired hardware.
Taliban fighters stood aboard captured Humvees and armored SUVs as they paraded through Kandahar, where propaganda video has circulated of a Black Hawk flying overhead.
In all, they are believed to have seized an air force worth tens of millions of dollars although U.S. officials say aircraft were disabled before the departure of international troops.
The total amount of hardware supplied to Afghanistan is staggering. Between 2003 and 2016, the U.S. supplied 208 aircraft and almost 76,000 vehicles, along with 600,000 weapons, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
But details of that weaponry is now disappearing under orders from the State Department.
‘The safety of our Afghan contacts is of utmost importance to us,’ said a spokesperson.
‘The State Department advised other federal agencies to review their web properties for content that highlights cooperation/participation between an Afghan citizen and the USG or a USG partner and remove from public view if it poses a security risk.’
‘I do not believe the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops in Afghanistan.’
In the remarks, Biden appeared to have little sympathy for the fact Americans were left behind as he lauded being able to get 120,000 people evacuated.
Of the 100 or so Americans who didn’t get evacuated, Biden said they were given ‘multiple warnings and offers to help them leave Afghanistan, all the way back as far as March.’
He said they were given at least 19 warnings and dismissed the tragedy by claiming most of those left behind were dual citizens anyway.
On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water on growing Republican calls to impeach Biden, by saying there wasn’t going to be an investigation.
McConnell, who also sought to douse impeachment efforts in the Senate against President Donald Trump (there were two of them) spoke as a number of House Freedom Caucus members have demanded Biden’s impeachment following the chaotic pullout from Afghanistan after the all of the U.S.-backed government.
But McConnell said the effort would be futile.
‘Well, look the president is not going to be removed from office,’ he said Tuesday.
‘I think the way these behaviors get adjusted in this country is at the ballot box,’ he said, the Wall Street Journal reported. ‘There isn’t going to be an impeachment.’
His comments have come as House Republicans have been lining up to call for Biden’s impeachment – although their efforts are likely doomed in the Democratic-controlled House and would face difficult odds in the 50-50 Senate.
‘IF BIDEN REFUSES TO RESIGN, HE MUST BE IMPEACHED!’ Tweeted Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) on August 30th, as the US pulled out its last troops from Afghanistan.
Rep. Lauren Boebert on Tuesday called for not only impeaching Biden, but also Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. She also wants to execute a parliamentary move to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
McConnell used similar language to try to weigh in against an ultimately failed impeachment effort in late 2019 – focusing on the low odds of success.
‘The case is so darn weak coming from the House, he told Sean Hannity of Fox News. ‘We know how it’s going to end. There’s no chance the president’s going to be removed from office.’
Taliban forces patrol at a runway a day after U.S troops withdrawal from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 31, 2021
Part TWO of the largest airlift in history: Inside giant operation to get Afghan refugees into the US
The United States is entering into the second phase of the largest non-combatant evacuation in its history as officials now mount an international effort to vet and house thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule.
More than 123,000 people, mostly Afghans, have been evacuated by Biden administration-led charter flights and international allies since August 15 during the chaotic Kabul withdrawal.
As of this morning, 20,000 Afghans have arrived at eight military bases in the US after a journey through Europe or the Middle East, General Mark Milley said in a Pentagon briefing.
But the facilities are already reaching capacity, are shrouded in secrecy and the Department of Homeland Security is facing mounting questions over vetting after a man linked to ISIS-K and a convicted rapist already deported from the US managed to get on evacuation flights.
A State Department official also revealed on Wednesday that the ‘majority’ of special immigrant visa (SIV) are still in Afghanistan, meaning thousands more could be making the journey to the US if they can get out and be processed.
‘We’re part of an urgent team effort to move Afghan refugees out of temporary housing in intermediate staging areas in the Gulf and in Europe and on to begin new lives,’ Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a the briefing before announcing his intent to visit the Gulf next week to thank ‘our partners there who have done so much to save and shelter Afghan civilians.’
Milley said there were 20,000 evacuees at staging areas in the Middle East and 23,000 at bases across Europe. Roughly 14,000 of the Afghan refugees in Europe are at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, according to CNN.
But Ramstein is just one staging area for refugees fleeing Kabul, where they are processed and vetted for further evacuation.
Isa Air Base in Bahrain, Ramstein Air Base, Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar are staging areas for refugees brought from Kabul and are supported by more than a dozen other ‘temporary safe haven’ locations. Bases in Morón de la Frontera, Spain, and Aviano, Italy, are also taking in refugees for screening.
President Joe Biden said on August 22 that refugees are undergoing thorough vetting after leaving Kabul.
‘At these sites where they’re landing, we are conducting thorough scrutiny — security screenings for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident,’ Biden said. ‘Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check.’
Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the president’s comments today, stating ‘I can absolutely assure you that no one is coming into the United States of America who has not been through a thorough screening and background check process.’
The map below shows where Afghan refugees, including special immigrant visa applicants and vulnerable civilians, were taken after they are evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport by US and coalition flights.
The United States is entering into the second phase of the largest non-combatant evacuation in its history as officials now mount an international effort to vet and house thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban rule. More than 123,000 people, mostly Afghans, have been evacuated by Biden administration-led charter flights and international allies since August 15 during the chaotic Kabul withdrawal