President Joe Biden claimed, Tuesday, in a speech to the United Nations, that the United States has “turned the page” on the war in Afghanistan, even as dozens — and perhaps hundreds — of Americans remain trapped behind enemy lines with the State Department unable to gain leverage over the Taliban to ensure evacuations.
“We stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history. And I’m here today to share with you how the U.S. plans to stand with partners and allies in answering these questions,” Biden said, apparently directly addressing concerns from coalition partners raised following his administration’s decision to leave Afghanistan on a self-imposed timeline.
“I stand here today for the first time in 20 years with the United States not at war. We’ve turned the page,” Biden claimed.
“Twenty years of conflict in Afghanistan, and as we close this period of relentless war we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy,” Biden added. “Of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world.”
The U.S. government, however, is having difficulty “lifting up” Americans who are stranded in Afghanistan. Although the State Department initially claimed that between 100 and 200 Americans who wanted to leave the country remained following the American withdrawal, a more recent report noted that around 100 Americans still remain, even as around 100 have been rescued.
Thirty more Americans left on a commercial flight Saturday, per a State Department spokesman.
“State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Saturday that a Qatar Airways charter flight departed Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents,” according to The Hill. “The announcement comes as the U.S. seeks to evacuate approximately 100 remaining American citizens who stayed in Afghanistan following the U.S.’s full withdrawal of troops on Aug. 31.”
It is not clear whether the State Department is keeping an accurate count of the remaining American citizens, or whether they are working independently to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies. As The Daily Wire noted last week, the State Department claimed it had “pulled all the levers” but that flights with American passengers remained on the ground at Mazar-i-Sharif (MAZ) airport.
Conservative radio host Glenn Beck announced Monday that his non-governmental organization and several partner NGOs were working with Pakistan’s government to negotiate with the Taliban and secure those flights’ release, as well as to secure a landing site. Beck was clear, in a radio update, that Americans are among those waiting to be evacuated from MAZ, calling the effort both “miraculous and horrendous.”
There are also thousands of coalition allies, green card holders, and Afghans with special immigrant visas still in Afghanistan with no timeline for evacuation.
According to National Review’s Jim Geraghty, the situation is dire for those left behind.
A source told Geraghty at least one particular evacuee is “still getting the run around from State on visa interviews for wife and children. There is still no system in place. It’s as if State has given up developing a reasonable alternative, and the only thing they have to offer is ‘come see us if you can.’”