White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, where she was asked about Americans who are currently stranded in Afghanistan and unable to get out.
“But is it fair to say you’re getting close with this flight and perhaps others to getting every American who wants to leave Afghanistan out of the country,” Willie Geist asked. “Are you close?”
“That’s what we’re working toward, absolutely,” Psaki said.
“And are you close now?” Geist pressed.
“We’re getting closer,” Psaki responded.
In August, even CNN debunked Psaki’s earlier claim that no Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan.
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
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted that Americans are still stranded in Afghanistan.
“As of now, the Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart,” Blinken admitted. “They claim that some of the passengers do not have the required documentation.”
Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart.”
These flights include American citizens. pic.twitter.com/HbJVMAsFHt
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 8, 2021
“While there are limits to what we can do without personnel on the ground, without an airport with normal security procedures in place, we are working to do everything in our power to support those flights and to get them off the ground,” he said, adding, “we will continue to press the Taliban to allow the charters to leave.”
The State Department’s admission comes one day after Blinken denied that there was ‘any hostage like’ situation at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Afghanistan.
“We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage-like situation in Mazar-i-Sharif,” he said.
“We’ve been able to identify a relatively small number of Americans who we believe are seeking to depart from Mazar-i-Sharif with their families. We have been assured, again, that all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid travel documents will be allowed to leave,” Blinken said.
Secretary of State Blinken’s admission, however, smacks of plausible deniability after a Fox News report on Tuesday confirmed what Becker News reported nearly ten days earlier: The State Department had been blocking private and humanitarian flights in and out of Afghanistan.
“Military lawyer and retired Marine Eric Montalvo shared the communications with Fox after he organized some of the flights and now claims the federal government thwarted his rescue effort,” the Daily Mail reported. “The leaked emails show State officials refusing to allow Montalvo’s privately paid for flights to use US property either inside the country or at one of its many overseas bases, after the Biden administration pledged to do whatever it can to rescue all Americans and as many Afghan allies as possible.”
“No independent charters are allowed’ at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar,” the September 1 email says. “In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land.”
President Biden earlier promised to evacuate all Americans who wanted to leave by the Aug. 31 deadline, or stay until the Americans had gotten out. The Biden administration broke its promises on both accounts.