The good news: CNN’s Clarissa Ward and her crew have finally made it into the airport in Kabul. The bad news: It’s not a heck of a lot better inside. “There isn’t a coherent mechanism yet to process these people,” Ward reports, even though the US military is “doing the best they can” under the circumstances.
“Where is the failure occurring?” the CNN host asks. It starts at the beginning of the withdrawal, Ward declares:
Clarissa Ward on scene at Kabul airport: "one of the more harrowing things I have experienced" pic.twitter.com/aY4Z5TyayW
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) August 20, 2021
The Washington Post reports that the situation hasn’t improved much from their perspective either, and likely won’t:
A chaotic and dangerous dynamic at Kabul’s airport showed few signs of relenting Thursday as thousands of people attempting to board flights faced beatings by Taliban guards, the crush of heaving crowds and interminable spells in the dust and heat while waiting to escape Afghanistan.
The daily mayhem at the airport — a fixture since the Taliban takeover Sunday — has stoked criticism that the Biden administration was slow to try to get Americans and their allies out, while underscoring fears about how the militants will rule the country.
Several people said Thursday they had received confusing signals from the United States about how exactly they were supposed to leave, citing emails from the State Department urging them to go the airport, only to find there was no one to receive them or to answer their questions on how to board flights.
“We arrived at 6 a.m.,” said a 39-year-old librarian, a dual U.S.-Afghan citizen, who came with his wife and two children after receiving an email invitation from the State Department. “From 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., the gate did not open, and there is no person to address our concerns.”
And now there’s fresh word that the Taliban has started to target journalists who report on the chaos:
While Taliban officials have made conciliatory gestures since the group took power — with promises of respect for press freedom and women’s rights, as well as an assurance that they will not engage in retribution — there were fresh signs Thursday that they won’t keep their word.
The German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said a close relative of one of its journalists had been killed by Taliban fighters. The relative was shot as militants went house to house searching for the journalist in western Afghanistan, the news organization said.
That’s another reason to be relieved to see Ward and her crew inside the airport, rather than outside reporting on the Taliban depravities taking place. The problem is that not enough Americans have made it out yet, and the Taliban’s murderous revenge won’t spare them when the time comes.
Ward makes the failures clear in this report. This process should have started months ago, when Biden first decided to conduct a complete withdrawal. No troops should have left until we had an opportunity to extract our own citizens, the citizens of our allies, and the Afghans who helped us over the past 20 years. The callous, dead-hearted decision to yank the military out first and abandon Americans and others to the enemy is a singular disgrace in American history, and it belongs entirely to Joe Biden.