“Our Afghan partners,” as Gen. Frank McKenzie has reportedly taken to calling the Taliban, aren’t keeping up their end of the partnership this afternoon.
Two private citizens involved in evacuation efforts tell me Talibs at a checkpoint in Afghanistan are now turning away US passport holders and Lawful Permanent Residents of US
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) August 27, 2021
Note that that’s at one checkpoint, apparently, not at every point around the airport perimeter. Maybe the goons staffing that area haven’t gotten the word from leadership that Americans are supposed to pass.
Maybe it’s just as well that U.S. citizens aren’t near the airport today either:
.@PressSec Jen Psaki: "The National Security Team the president met with this morning advised the president and vice president that another terror attack in Kabul is likely…The threat is ongoing and it is active. Our troops are still in danger." pic.twitter.com/4FR9cgt48A
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 27, 2021
Is the “Pineapple Express” still operating in the city? That might be Americans’ last, best chance of making it to the tarmac.
If not, the caliphate is going to have some new citizens soon:
Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “I don’t think we can guarantee” Americans who want to get out will get out of Afghanistan after August 31 pic.twitter.com/pJn8m1fRZx
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 27, 2021
The efforts to get Americans out will continue up until Tuesday, the deadline date. If there are any left in the city whose location is known, I assume — and hope — that the rules about U.S. troops not leaving the airport to go looking for people will be broken. The bigger problem is evacuating the remaining Afghan friendlies. Not only is the Taliban opposed to letting them into the airport, apparently the haste of the evacuation means they’re now being turned away by the British military and international aid groups too:
This is a devastating news for those who had already got their approvals for the EVAC flights…And of course a heartbreaking development for all those who were working hard to help Afghan evacuees
— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) August 27, 2021
UK evacuations from Afghanistan are in their final hours. The 1,000 already inside Kabul airport will be the last to leave. The main UK processing centre in the Baron Hotel at the airport has been closed.
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) August 27, 2021
Adam Kinzinger says he’s hearing that even Afghans with valid SIVs are being rejected:
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) August 27, 2021
State Department can’t say how many Afghan special immigrant visa (SIV) holders have been evacuated from Kabul. The goal has been to put “as many people” as possible on planes.
“We don’t have precise figures to provide,” Ned Price admits.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 27, 2021
Is that a function of tightened security at the airport? If so, ISIS-K’s bombing will end up leading to many more Afghans dying eventually than the 200 or so who perished at the airport yesterday. Or is it because troops at the airport have now turned their full attention to evacuating themselves and their equipment before Tuesday and therefore there’s no one left to process Afghans?
There may be no one left to defend the gates either. This video purports to have been recorded this morning but I haven’t heard any reports of crowds breaking through and storming onto the field. If that happens, American troops will need to get creative in how to keep the runway clear:
Mass crowd gathering inside the Kabul Airport. pic.twitter.com/nsCnxVil12
— ماك🧢מאק (@beingrealmac) August 27, 2021
If you don’t think our final days in Afghanistan can get any more chaotic and surprising, just wait. According to WaPo, the Taliban has approached the U.S. about reopening the embassy in Kabul:
The Taliban has requested that the United States keep a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan beyond the Aug. 31 withdrawal of U.S. military forces, a move that could entail the United States reopening the shuttered embassy in Kabul, said a person familiar with the discussions.
U.S. officials have been weighing the possibility of keeping diplomats there but a final order on the matter has not been given, the person said…
Any decision would likely balance the security threats to U.S. personnel — especially after Thursday’s deadly suicide attack at the airport — against the desire to retain influence in the country, in particular, and to help Afghan allies and others flee once U.S. troops are gone.
The argument against doing so is obvious. They’re jihadists who’ve killed thousands of our boys and are preparing to turn Afghanistan back into a totalitarian Salafist nightmare. If we recognize their authority, we’re signaling that that sort of oppression isn’t a dealbreaker for us. But there are arguments in favor too. For one thing, that sort of oppression isn’t a dealbreaker for us. We wouldn’t be close allies with Saudi Arabia if it were. Keeping a diplomatic presence in Kabul would also give us leverage in protecting the thousands of remaining Afghan friendlies in the country. It could be part of a deal: In return for us lending them a bit of prestige and mainstream recognition, they agree to turn over the people who helped us for evacuation. Having a diplomatic outpost in Kabul would also give the CIA a spot on the ground from which to monitor local international terror groups. Or, in a best-case scenario, it might make the Taliban less amenable to hosting those groups to begin with. Mainstream international acceptance means it’ll be easier for them to line their pockets. Is that worth more or less to them than Al Qaeda’s friendship is in 2021?
Here’s a gut-wrenching video from Fox this afternoon featuring an Afghan interpreter, “Carl,” who has a five-year-old daughter and hasn’t made it out. “I know that I’m going to be left behind. I know that for sure. I know that I’m going to get killed,” he told them. “But the good thing is that I’m not going to die for a bad thing. I’m going to die for a good thing. What I did, I will never regret it because I have tried to help people.” If we can save him and many thousands like him by leaving some diplomats in Kabul, should we?