The Taliban on Wednesday are reportedly blocking 143 American citizens from leaving Afghanistan, fomenting a “hostage” crisis amid denials from the Biden administration.
“U.S. Lawmakers and veterans trying to assist in the evacuation of 143 stranded Americans and many Afghan allies are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of action by the Biden administration,” Real Clear Politics reported on the “six chartered planes at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.”
Though State Department Secretary Antony Blinken admits the Taliban are blocking Americans’ passage way out of the country, the Biden administration is also “insisting the Taliban’s efforts to block flights from leaving the country is not a ‘hostage’ crisis – that the militant group controlling Afghanistan simply wants the proper documents from those seeking to leave.”
“The Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart,” Blinken said Wednesday. “Those flights need to be able to depart.”
.@SecBlinken acknowledges “fair amount of confusion” around charter flights from Afghanistan & says US will continue to push Taliban to allow those flights to leave
"The Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart," he says. "Those flights need to be able to depart"
— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) September 8, 2021
But on Tuesday, Blinken said the opposite. “And it’s my understanding is that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document, but they have said those without valid documents, at this point, can’t leave,” Blinken said. “Because all of these people are grouped together, that’s meant that flights have not been allowed to go.”
Former Justice Department attorney Paul Stern took note of the situation and tweeted the individuals at Mazar-i-Sharif airport must be allowed to depart.
“Day 8 and our @afghan_ascend girls are stranded at #Mazar-e-Sharif,” Stern tweeted. Far-left Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also agreed, “They fought for women’s rights and are at risk because of it. These planes need to take off now.”
It is unknown how many Americans still remain stranded in Afghanistan from Biden’s deadly withdrawal. The White House originally said 11,000 Americans were in the country when it collapsed. But the Biden administration said after the deadly evacuation finished that only 6,000 Americans had been flown out of the country, potentially leaving about 5,000.
Yet Biden said after the withdrawal in a prepared speech that his administration left ten percent of Americans in the country.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø