Speaking with “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell on Wednesday, acting U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson blamed the Americans stranded in Afghanistan for their predicament, stating, “People chose not to leave. That’s their business.”
O’Donnell asked, “The question has been raised: Why didn’t the U.S. get out Americans and our Afghanifriends before the Taliban were able to take control of Kabul?” She continued supportively, “You warned about this in a cable. Were you ignored?”
“We put out repeated warnings every three weeks to Americans, going back to, I think, March or April, each one in stronger terms: Leave now. Leave immediately,” Wilson answered. “Never in my 40 years of working, since I began working at the State Department, have I seen such strong language used. People chose not to leave. That’s their business. That’s their right.”
“We regret now that many may find themselves in a position that they would rather not be in. And we are determined to try to help them,” he continued.
Top U.S. diplomat says the State Department put out repeated warnings every three weeks to Americans in Afghanistan telling them to leave since April: “People chose not to leave. That's their business," Ross Wilson said. pic.twitter.com/hr5HlLxA0F
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 26, 2021
Wilson also stated, “We would like for all those who wish to get out of this country to do so and to be able to do so by August 31, especially American citizens. … Our commitment in this country and our involvement in this country doesn’t end on that date. We believe that there will be possibilities for Americans to be able to get out of this country. America’s commitment to American citizens, in particular to our staff, to those who served our country, that isn’t going to end,” according to CBS News.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan warned Americans “to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time.”
The Embassy stated:
Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.
U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.
Actions to take:
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.
Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to curfews.
Have a contingency plan for emergenciesand review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Last week. Wilson protested on Twitter, “Contrary to false reports, @USEmbassyKabul staff and I remain in #Kabul working hard to help 1000s of U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans & continuing engagement here. Our commitment to the Afghan people endures.”
Contrary to false reports, @USEmbassyKabul staff & I remain in #Kabul working hard to help 1000s of U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans & continuing engagement here. Our commitment to the Afghan people endures.
— Chargé d’Affaires Ian McCary (@USAmbKabul) August 17, 2021
A former infantryman and combat advisor to the Afghan National Army fired back, “Where the hell do they go to complete the process? They don’t even know where you are and they’re hiding because the Taliban are hunting them. I have THREE combat translators behind enemy lines. What are you doing about these men? We don’t leave friendlies behind.”
Where the hell do they go to complete the process? They don't even know where you are and they're hiding because the Taliban are hunting them.
I have THREE combat translators behind enemy lines.
What are you doing about these men?
We don't leave friendlies behind.
— Matt (@Mcarp_81) August 17, 2021