In case the new alert from the embassy didn’t make it clear, the situation appears to be getting worse, not better.
Frankly, it’s hard to fault the embassy for telling Americans to stay away at this stage. Behold this scene. What would be the point of trying to make it to the airport gate?
The scene at Kabul airport several hours ago per source from an NGO who is trying to get people out. Main problem is that it's impossible to pass the gates and get to the planes even if you are on an evacuees list pic.twitter.com/b3bZn5B34Z
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 21, 2021
New video out of Kabul Airport. #Afghanistan
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) August 21, 2021
One journalist there says he’s personally witnessed four women towards the front of the crowd crushed to death. Some have passed out from the heat and fatigue. Others have been killed, presumably by the Taliban goons charged with keeping “order”:
Source sends me another disturbing video of violence and chaos outside the Kabul airport
The video was today, approx 1200-1300 Kabul time, and immediately outside airport at the north gate, per source of video. pic.twitter.com/Nres2uEcyq
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) August 21, 2021
The perimeter around the airport has become a refugee camp policed by one of the worst regimes on earth. Meanwhile, greater Kabul is being policed by, essentially, Al Qaeda.
Watch Sky News reporter Stuart Ramsay, visibly shaken, try to convey how the situation has deteriorated:
“This is the worst day by far.”@ramsaysky says the situation at Kabul’s airport is “utterly horrendous”, and that ‘hardened soldiers’ told him its the “worst thing they have ever seen in their entire career” pic.twitter.com/dQwo47HMiQ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 21, 2021
Here’s the state of play as of this morning:
— Susan Katz Keating (@SKatzKeating) August 21, 2021
I’m reminded of what David Fox told ABC about the State Department emailing blank printable visas to Americans and Afghan “friendlies” for use at the airport. Whoever came up with that idea must have had “brain worms,” said Fox, since obviously an endless number of copies would be printed by Afghan recipients and distributed to anyone who wants out, whether or not they ever worked with U.S. troops. I wonder how many members of the crowd have those bogus blank visas. And how many don’t but showed up anyway in the idle hope that the chaos involved in rapidly processing huge numbers of people might ultimately lead to them being ushered onto a plane, no questions asked.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to emigrate from Afghanistan to the United States. Why not take a shot, whether you’re rightly eligible or not?
Watching the clips above, you’re led to wonder whether the walls around the airport will hold. What happens if the crowds break through and overrun the facility? Do the Marines start shooting? Will planes need to be diverted because there are people on the runway? A Twitter pal this morning posed an ominous question about the very last stage of withdrawal: At the end, the troops providing security at the airport will also need to be evacuated. Once they pull back and run for the last flight out waiting on the tarmac, what does the throng of desperate Afghans do? Break through and run after them?
Will that plane be able to take off? Will troops need to shoot Afghans who are obstructing its departure?
Because the airport is now practically inaccessible, the only way to bring Americans in, it seems, is to venture out by helicopter and pick them up around Kabul. That’s already happened (although perhaps only once) when Chinooks flew from the airport to the nearby Baron Hotel to retrieve 169 Americans who were gathered there. Most of the retrieval around the city is being done by British and French troops, though — and according to Tom Rogan, it’s not sitting well with the U.S. military:
I understand that the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division has told the commander of the British special forces at the Kabul airport to cease operations beyond the airport perimeter.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue has told his British Army counterpart, a high-ranking field-grade officer of the British army’s 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, that British operations were embarrassing the United States military in the absence of similar U.S. military operations. I understand that the British officer firmly rejected the request.
Can that really be true? Bad enough that we’re partnering with the Taliban on airport security, but to try to obstruct allied rescue operations for reasons of “optics” would be an unforgivable travesty.
I’ll leave you with this. As with the situation at the airport, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
For the first time, Biden is upside down in the RCP Average. pic.twitter.com/fhWgb4cFmd
— Sean T at RCP (@SeanTrende) August 21, 2021