A state department official has spoken out about experiences regarding the evacuation of people from Afghanistan over the past several weeks, according to a report.
The official said they did not have a specific count of the Afghan Special Immigrant (SIV) applicants and family members who did not make it onto evacuation flights, “but I would say it’s the majority of them, just based on anecdotal information about the populations we were able to support.”
More broadly, the official described an evacuation effort confronted by numerous challenges — one that left US officials who worked on the ground “haunted by the choices we had to make and by the people we were not able to help depart in this first phase of the operation.”
“It wasn’t pretty. It was very challenging,” the senior official noted, “and it involved some, some really painful trade-offs and choices for everyone involved.”
The official described the process of the evacuation and how it progressed over time, among other details.
“Every day was a constant improvisational effort to figure out what was going to work that day,” they said. “As we got deeper into the process, we unfortunately had to start prioritizing the people to whom we had a legal obligation first and foremost, and that was our fellow American citizens. As we had room, space, capacity to manage other populations, we tried very hard to do that.”
CNN noted, “They also said the Taliban had ‘variable’ criteria for passage through their checkpoints to the airport, criteria that at times was ‘inconsistent with … assurances they had given to us that they would allow certain people to pass.’”
“Despite our best efforts to come up with an approach on a day-to-day, sometimes hour-by hour-basis that would allow groups to pass, it was unpredictable as to whether they would actually be able to get through,” the official told the media on Wednesday.
“We had a couple of instances where buses were a mix of foreign nationals and Afghan local employees of other missions, and the (Taliban) would only let pass the foreign nationals, and they turned away or they held at that location the Afghan citizens who were on that particular movement,” they said. “In some of those cases, we were able to successfully persuade them to then, in subsequent days, to allow that group to go forward.”
President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday afternoon, stating that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was an “extraordinary success” despite the fact that hundreds of Americans are still in the country and the execution of the withdrawal of forces led to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members and hundreds of Afghans.
As The Daily Wire reported, Biden turned his back on reporters after his speech and did not take questions.
Earlier this month, Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that troops would stay in the country until all of the Americans were out.
Stephanopoulos asked, “So Americans should understand that troops might have to be there beyond August 31st?”
Biden answered, “No. Americans should understand that we’re gonna try to get it done before August 31st.”
Stephanopoulos went on, “But if we don’t, the troops will stay — ”
“If — if we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left,” Biden answered.
“And?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Biden eventually admitted, “And if you’re American force — if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
Biden did not deliver on this promise as hundreds of Americans are still reportedly stuck in Afghanistan.