White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s line that no Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan was exposed here first as being a lie. But subsequent reports confirm further exposure of the White Hosue Press Secretary from unlikely quarters, including CNN’s Jake Tapper and House Intel Chair Adam Schiff.
“House Intel Chair Adam Schiff just left a classified intel briefing on Afghanistan and broke a significant amount of news,” CNN’s Ryan Nobles reported on Twitter. “Here are some of the highlights.”
“First he said getting all Americans and allies out of the country by 8/31 is unlikely,” Nobles reported.
“Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIVs, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders women leaders, it’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” Schiff said.
Then, Rep. Schiff reportedly said he was concerned about the security of the airport in Kabul: “I think the threat to the airport is very real and very substantial and this has been a concern of mine for, for some days now that this would make a very attractive target for ISIS.”
Finally, Schiff said that “the intel community was very aware that the Taliban had the ability to take over the country,” Nobles reported.
“The intelligence agencies assessments of the Afghan government’s ability to maintain itself became increasingly pessimistic,” he said.“Over the course of the last six months. And there were any number of warnings that the Taliban might take over, and some that included a potential of a very rapid, the Afghan government enforces.”
Schiff’s take was echoed by Intel Committee Member Jason Crow: “I do not believe at this point, sitting here today, that I have any evidence of a intelligence failure,” Crow- a Democrat- told CNN’s Jeremy Herb.
This is quite the fact check debunking Jen Psaki’s claim that no Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan. Also scorching Psaki for lying to Doocy, all while berating him, was CNN’s own Jake Tapper. Watch:
CNN’s Jake Tapper fact checks Psaki for saying Americans are “not” stranded in Afghanistan.
“There are no doubt Americans who feel stranded in Afghanistan right now.” pic.twitter.com/MaaYR1gMiE
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 23, 2021
Jen Psaki earlier had bristled at a question from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy about Americans “stranded” in Afghanistan by the Biden administration.
“Does the president have a sense that most of the criticism is not leaving Afghanistan, it is the way that he has ordered it to happen,” Doocy said. “By pulling the troops before these Americans who are now stranded. Does he have a sense of that?”
“First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say that Americans are stranded,” Psaki snapped. “They are not. We are committed to bring Americans who want to come home, home.”
“We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via email, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home,” she said.
“‘There are no Americans stranded’ is the White House’s official position on what is happening in Afghanistan right now?” Doocy asked.
“I am just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan, when I said we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home,” she said. “We are going to bring them home. And I think that is important for the American public to hear and understand.”
Jen Psaki must have gotten the message loud and clear from the White House that they need to go on offense to combat the negative public perception about the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. But Psaki’s word games notwithstanding, Americans were “stranded” by President Biden’s order to pull the U.S. military ahead of evacuating American civilians.
On Saturday, the U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan through Kabul International Airport. Americans were instructed to ‘stay put’ unless given instructions by U.S. officials to go to the airport. It turned out that the reason for that warning were reports of ISIS terrorists potentially targeting Americans.
On Monday, there were reports of gunfire near Kabul airport. “Unknown attackers” killed a member of the Afghan military and wounded three others, according to a tweet by the German military. Six patients with bullet wounds were reportedly treated by an Italian medical aid group called Emergency.
Also on Monday, the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan refused to extend the August 31 deadline and warned of “consequences” for attempting to evacuate U.S. citizens after that point in time.
Meanwhile, the German foreign minister said: “The chaotic situation at Kabul airport has worsened in the last few hours. It is extremely doubtful that all Americans can be evacuated by August 31.”
Therefore, it very much does appear to be the case that Americans were “stranded” by Biden’s military withdrawal order, and furthermore, there is a high likelihood that some Americans will be stranded after the August 31 deadline.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.