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‘Refugees Pushed Their Way Onto Planes’: NY Times Demolishes Biden Admin’s Claims of Orderly, Thorough Afghan Evacuation

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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion


The New York Times published a report Friday that completely refutes the Biden administration’s claims that its evacuation operation out of Kabul, Afghanistan, last week was a raging success.

According to the paper, internal dispatches sent by State Department officials describe a much different scenario than the one being publicly portrayed by President Biden himself as well as his various spokespersons and surrogates.

In Doha, Qatar, for instance, the Times noted that nearly 15,000 Afghan refugees were stuffed into hangers and “wedding-style tents” on Al Udeid Air Base, which is home to the U.S. Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, as well as Camp As Sayliyah, the U.S. Army’s biggest base in the Middle East.

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The paper noted:

Tensions in the temporary shelters had “flared,” the report said, “due to prolonged stays and unpredictable exit dates.” At the Army base, “single males, including former Afghan military” had become unruly “and contraband weapons have been confiscated.” Overwhelmed, neither base was testing Afghan evacuees for the coronavirus.

The reports were daily distillations of the complexity, chaos and humanity behind the largest air evacuation in U.S. history, as scores of diplomats, troops, health workers, security officials and others scattered across the globe sought to rescue tens of thousands of refugees. Whatever plans the Biden administration had for an orderly evacuation unraveled when Kabul fell in a matter of days, setting off a frenzied, last-minute global mobilization.

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“Refugees pushed their way onto airplanes. Hundreds of children were separated from their parents. Rogue flights landed without manifests. Security vetting of refugees was done in hours or days, rather than months or years,” the Times added.

In general, the paper said, emails and other communications from the State Department, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Defense Departments all indicate a chaotic, dangerous situation regarding the evacuation that, for the record, did not include getting all American citizens out of the country as well as Afghans who helped U.S. military forces during the 20-year conflict.

Shortly after Biden’s Aug. 31 speech signaling all is well, a private charter aircraft that took off from Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan’s fourth-largest city, landed in Doha, which is one of several way stations in eight countries. The plane landed without any notice, there were no American citizens aboard, and was charted by an ex-Marine’s law firm.

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What’s more, there was no information about whether the all-Afghan passenger load contained individuals who had a right to come to the U.S.

“There are multiple other ‘rogue’ flights that are seeking the same permissions” to land, said emails from State Department officials sent that day. “We have 300 people in Doha now who are basically stateless. Most have no papers.”

In addition, hundreds of unaccompanied minors have also been arriving at various way stations, the Times reported, as they became separated from parents in the mad dash to get on board flights.

Biden has said that as many as 120,000 Afghanis were evacuated; more than 40,000 have been relocated to the United States, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The U.S. can expect at least 17,000 more people by the end of next week, officials said.

And it’s a certainty that virtually none of them have been properly vetted, American officials are reporting.

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Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told Fox News on Friday night that the vetting process under Biden was “a disaster,” citing multiple sources within DHS and the U.S. Embassy in Germany, where he was once the ambassador.

“The Biden administration team is asking career officials to put these people through quickly, when there is a lack of information, when they don’t have documentation,” he said.

“They’re being told to use a hunch. Use your own internal mechanism to know whether or not these individuals should come to the United States,” Grenell noted further, adding he’s “very nervous” about the lack of proper vetting.

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