The Biden administration has reportedly blocked a charter flight from Afghanistan carrying more than 100 American citizens and green card holders from landing in the U.S.
The volunteer group in charge of managing the flight accused the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of refusing to give clearance for the charter flight to land in the U.S. The flight is carrying dozens of people who have been trapped in Afghanistan for weeks since the U.S. military withdrew at the end of August, according to Reuters.
“They will not allow a charter on an international flight into a U.S. port of entry,” said Project Dynamo founder Bryan Stern. By Tuesday morning, Stern, who is aboard the blocked flight, had made it out of Kabul to an airport in Abu Dhabi.
Stern said the flight had been stuck on the ground for at least 14 hours awaiting clearance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The flight is carrying 117 people, including 59 children.
“An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were unfamiliar with the matter, but that the U.S. government typically takes time to verify the manifests of charter planes before clearing them to land in the United States,” the Reuters report said.
A DHS spokesperson told The Daily Wire in a statement, “all U.S.-bound flights must follow the established safety, security, and health protocols before they are cleared for departure. This process requires flight manifests to be verified before departure to the U.S. to ensure all passengers are screened appropriately.”
Stern’s group is just one of several working to evacuate stranded Americans and Afghan allies left behind in Afghanistan as the U.S. military ended evacuation operations and pulled out its last remaining forces on August 30 in line with President Joe Biden’s self-imposed deadline.
On Monday, a Biden administration official said that the State Department is aware of 100 Americans still trapped in Afghanistan. Volunteers working on the ground in Afghanistan say that the Biden administration’s estimate falls far short of the reality.
Jean Marie Thrower, an Army veteran and volunteer with the Afghan Rescue Crew, said on Sunday that the number of trapped Americans is “definitely” higher than what the State Department claims. As The Daily Wire reported:
“Definitely, there are more than the hundred that is being stated. We have multiple groups working together with teams with rosters of people, and we continue to scrub those rosters to make sure we know where these people are at,” Thrower said. “I do want to say as a veteran, quickly, that I’m appalled at our administration and how they have disrespected Americans and our allies, as well as put our soldiers’ future operations in jeopardy.”
Thrower said that the Biden administration is underestimating the number of Americans still in Afghanistan based on the number of people she and the Afghan Rescue Crew are in contact with.
“We have the evidence out there. We are talking to these people. We have American children. We have children being born that are really under American citizenship, technically. So, there are a lot of different things,” Thrower said.
This story has been updated with a statement from DHS.