OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Is the Joe Biden administration aware that the Taliban in Afghanistan harbored Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States?
It sometimes appears to this writer that they don’t, especially after a message from National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Emily Horne praising the Taliban two days before the 20th anniversary of those attacks.
“Today, the United States government facilitated the departure of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residents on a chartered Qatar Airways flight from Hamid Karzai International Airport. We can confirm that flight has safely landed in Qatar. We are deeply grateful to the continued efforts of Qatar in facilitating operations at HKIA and helping to ensure the safety of these charter flights. We have been working intensely across the U.S. government to ensure the accuracy of the manifest and the safe departure and transit of the aircraft, and today’s safe flight is the result of careful and hard diplomacy and engagement,” she said.
“The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA. They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort. This is a positive first step.
“We will continue these efforts to facilitate the safe and orderly travel of American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghans who worked for us and wish to leave Afghanistan. Because there is an ongoing terrorist threat to operations of this nature, we will not be sharing details of these efforts before people are safely out of the country,” Horne said.
“We have brought more than 6,000 American citizens and lawful permanent residents home to the United States under Operation Allies Welcome thus far. As President Biden has said, if you are an American citizen who wants to leave Afghanistan, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out,” she said.
There are still Americans stuck in Afghanistan and just days before this announcement praising the Taliban the administration announced that they had “no resources” to rescue trapped Americans.
The U.S. State Department claimed that it has few resources available to facilitate the evacuation and that they have no “reliable” information about the trapped flights.
“Individuals associated with an organization handling the flights that the State Department is the only obstacle to the chartered planes leaving the airport, but sources close to the situation told the Daily Wire Sunday that while the State Department is not negotiating landing zones, the Taliban is also making significant demands, effectively creating a “hostage situation” on the ground in Afghanistan,” the Daily Wire reported.
A State Department official reportedly said their hands are tied and that they do not have any resources on the ground to get trapped American home.
“We do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace—whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region,” the official told the Free Beacon. “We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan.”
A spokesman added, “Given these constraints, we also do not have a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights, including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on-board, the accuracy of the rest of the manifest, and where they plan to land, among many other issues.”
The ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday that the Taliban were holding Americans “hostage” by preventing them from leaving aboard a half-dozen planes that are ready for departure because they “want something” in return.
“We have six airplanes at Mazar Sharif Airport, six airplanes with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said during an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
“State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he continued, referring to the State Department.