No, they’re not. Joe Biden tried claiming that he was committed to sticking around until every American got out, too. Remember this moment from his interview with George Stephanopoulos less than two weeks ago? How did this work out?
President Biden on Aug.19
Stephanopoulos: Does that mean troops will stay beyond Aug 31st if necessary?
Biden: “We're gonna do everything in our power to get all Americans out & our allies out”
Biden: “If there's American citizens left, we're gonna stay to get them all out” pic.twitter.com/xiZPKdxUK2
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) August 30, 2021
Biden didn’t say we’d negotiate with terrorists to get them out — he declared “we’re gonna stay to get them all out.” Joe Biden lied about that and deliberately retreated under fire while leaving Americans trapped behind enemy lines. So why should we believe Jake Sullivan now, especially when he claims that the US has “considerable leverage” over the Taliban?
“The small number who remain we are committed to getting out.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 31, 2021
Again — they were committed to staying too, until they weren’t. Sullivan passes the buck to the stranded Americans for not getting to the airport, ignoring the fact that the State Department warned for most of the last two weeks that it was unsafe for them to make the attempt. Some of the president’s defenders are claiming that Americans were warned to get out in April, but Biden himself scoffed in July at the prospect of a Taliban takeover. Besides, many if not most of the Americans in Aghanistan were there to support the US mission, either directly or through NGOs for education, health care, civic structures, the media, and so on.
What kind of “leverage” does Sullivan think we have over the Taliban, by the way? We have around $7 billion in Afghanistan’s assets frozen, but they have around $24 billion of our wartime materiel in their grasp. They can sell a third or so of that on the black market and make back pretty much what we’ve frozen, while still having enough to create a significant standing army.
Sullivan mentions diplomacy, which indicates he spent 1996-2001 in a coma. The Taliban proved repeatedly during their five-year reign of terror that they don’t give a rip about “international standing,” either. Strongly worded press releases from the UN about Western values on human rights don’t keep them awake at night.
And this proves that the Biden administration is clueless, top to bottom:
The Taliban needs to meet its commitments and obligations in Afghanistan on freedom of travel, respecting basic rights of the people, upholding its commitments on counterterrorism, not carrying out reprisal violence against those who stayed, and forming an inclusive government.
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) August 31, 2021
The subtext for this talk about the “diplomatic” channel is essentially bribery. The US will have to pay the Taliban off to get the American citizens and our legal permanent residents out, the latter of whom never seems to figure into State Department calculations of stranded Americans. As for our Afghan allies and partners, we’ve utterly abandoned them, even if NBC News hasn’t figured that out yet:
With the U.S. military now out of Afghanistan, the task of evacuating tens of thousands of Afghan allies left behind falls to nongovernmental organizations and international aid groups — who say they are unable to tell them where to go next, according to several groups who spoke to NBC News.
Kabul’s airport has been the center for evacuations, but with commercial flights stopped, sights have shifted to Afghanistan’s land borders. But the odds that Afghans will reach one of those borders without Taliban interference, be allowed to cross into a neighboring country and then be resettled in the U.S. are daunting.
“My sense of the issue is that the borders are incredibly crowded. There is a lot of violence. Some are open for visa holders, and others are not. Some have gotten into Pakistan. A lot have not,” said Becca Heller, executive director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, which helps refugees after they have left the country and are looking for legal assistance to resettle in the U.S.
Biden and Sullivan are truly committed to covering their asses, and only to covering their asses.