Biden administration puns can’t mask protracted hostage crisis


On September 7, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at a press conference in Qatar, said he was “unaware” of a “hostage-taking situation” in airplanes. waiting for take-off from Mazar-i-Sharif international airport.

Blinken was responding to Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas). On September 5, McCaul told Fox News on Sunday that six planes at Mazar-i-Sharif carrying U.S. citizens and Afghan interpreters were denied departure. The State Department “authorized these flights and the Taliban won’t let them leave the airport, ”he said. He added, “We know the reason (they’re being held) is that the Taliban want something in return. McCaul speculated that the Taliban wanted American diplomatic recognition.

McCaul is the Republican on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mazar-i-Sharif is 190 miles northwest of Kabul. Several private organizations have attempted to organize charter flights from Mazar-i-Sharif in an attempt to evacuate stranded Americans and Afghan nationals who hold or deserve a special US immigrant visa, or SIV.

McCaul described a quid pro quo hostage-taking. In exchange for the release of Americans detained against their will, the Taliban want diplomatic recognition, which could give them access to frozen Afghan financial assets.

Blinken’s oily response was a no denial. To say that he is personally “ignorant” does not mean that no one in his State Department knows otherwise. Note Blinken adds a cheap spin with the weasel term “like a hostage”.

Blinken’s Waffles followed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s response on August 23, Alice in Wonderland to a reporter that “Americans are not stuck” in Afghanistan. On the fly, Psaki redefined “failed” to mean something that he is not. She claimed that citizens who were refused entry at Kabul airport were not blocked because they had telephone contact.

They follow their leader. Blinken and Psaki emulate the example of President Joe Biden. On August 31, Reuters published a July 23 telephone exchange between Biden and then Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Biden told Ghani that “… the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of fighting the Taliban. And there is a need, whether it’s true or not, there is a need to project a different image. “

The Reuters report is of decisive historical significance. Biden knew his awkward, incompetent and random withdrawal was failing. However, instead of helping the Afghan government to safely and successfully evacuate American citizens, Biden wanted Ghani to use a word and image perception gadget to cover up leadership, politics, and field failure. battle of Biden in the real world.

Blinken’s performance on September 7 included a subtle but ugly confession. Flights from Afghanistan have been denied exit because people with valid travel documents are grouped together with people without the appropriate State Department documents.

Biden announced his withdrawal on April 14. He wanted to leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of September 11. But Biden’s presidential order did not push the State Department to act to meet his withdrawal deadline.

On August 16, the Washington Examiner reported that the State Department had an SIV “processing backlog” for 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 Afghan dependents.

This “backlog” is a testament to the life threatening salaries of the State Department’s entrenched institutional flaws. I will enumerate a few: the reworking of the paper, the bureaucratic inertia of 9 to 5; Lack of responsibility; and focus on perception, not policy execution and results.

The Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) is pentagon for “the departure of non-combatant civilians and non-essential military personnel from danger in an overseas country to a designated refuge…”

By doctrine, in a NEO, the State Department is the lead government agency. The State Department identifies people who need to be evacuated, processes their documents, and arranges shelters. The State Department is constantly coordinating with the Pentagon so that the military is ready for the safe evacuation.

Biden and Blinken winked at a haphazard planning process at best. Then they mismanaged the preparatory action phase of the withdrawal and completely botched its execution phase.

We face our appalling moment: Biden and Blinken’s leadership failures and State Department incompetence have created a protracted hostage situation. Failures and incompetence also fueled the chaos that led to the deaths of 13 US servicemen.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

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Austin Bay is a (retired) U.S. Army Reserve Colonel, author, union columnist, and professor of strategy and strategic theory at the University of Texas at Austin. His latest book is “Cocktails from Hell: Five Wars Shaping the 21st Century”.

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