Multiple reports confirm the Taliban are keeping Americans from departing from Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Northern Afghanistan. No evacuation flights have been reported to have left the country since the last military plane departed at the Aug. 31 “deadline,” stranding hundreds in the terrorist-overrun country.
The White House is maintaining a ‘wall of silence’ about the developing hostage situation in Afghanistan.
“There is zero chatter in the White House about getting American citizens out of Afghanistan,” said Jack Posobiec on Twitter. “They’re acting like they aren’t even there,” per White House official.
There is zero chatter in the White House about getting American citizens out of Afghanistan. "They're acting like they aren't even there," per WH official
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) September 5, 2021
The White House’s “radio silence” on the unfolding hostage crisis follows an order by the White House Counsel to “ghost” the media seeking information on events in Afghanistan.
As Becker News reported exclusively earlier, multiple Pentagon sources indicate there has been a “lockdown” on all Requests for Information (RFIs) on the military withdrawal from Afghanistan and its disastrous aftermath.
“The White House Counsel (via the National Security Council’s legal department) told multiple federal agencies and departments not to respond to Afghanistan correspondence, with more guidance to follow,” multiple Pentagon sources independently confirm.
The direct order on “ghosting” RFIs (Requests for Information) is “not exceptionally rare,” but unheard of in retrograde, with many members searching for constituents, the source provides on background.
On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain appeared on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ but was not asked about the hostage situation. Klain said “around 100” Americans are still in Afghanistan and the administration is working to get them out.
“We are going to find ways to get them — the ones that want to leave — to get them out of Afghanistan. We know many of them have family members, many of them want to stay, but the ones that want to leave, we’re going to get them out,” Klain said.
“Obviously, we’re hopeful that, in the coming days, the Qataris will be able to resume air service out of Kabul. And, if they do, we’re obviously going to look to see if Americans can be part of those flights. We are going to find ways to get them — the ones that want to leave, to get them out of Afghanistan,” he added.
However, it is not entirely clear if U.S. planes were held up earlier because of a back channel State Department order or if the Taliban has been preventing planes from departing all along. The State Department was reported as having “cleared” all flights, Rep. Michael McFaul told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
STUCK ON PLANES: @RepMcCaul says Americans and Afghan interpreters have been held hostage by the Taliban for days at the Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport in Afghanistan. #FoxNewsSunday pic.twitter.com/2gJfxNTIfJ
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) September 5, 2021
“In fact, we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-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,” McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
“State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he continued.
Wallace asked McCaul if it was “turning into a hostage situation.”
“Well, they are not clearing airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave,” McCaul added.
“We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange,” he continued.
Rep. Ronny Jackson, in a Friday interview with Newsmax TV, said the Taliban was blocking Americans from leaving on flights.
“The airplanes are there. Everything is ready to go. They can’t get out, and the reason they can’t get out is because the Taliban won’t release the flight until Sept. 9 because they want to be recognized as an official government,” Jackson said.
“They want to be officially recognized as a legitimate government,” he continued.
“And I guarantee you these hostages, they’re hostages right now, are being held until the American, until the United States, until the Biden administration recognizes the Taliban as a government,” Jackson added.
“This is not going to be the first nor the last lie that we’ve heard from the Biden administration,” Jackson went on.
“This entire thing is just a web of lies. We’re working today. We still, both of us, we still have people over there,” he noted, confirming that he knows Texas constitutents who are “trapped.”
“I have American citizens, citizens, at least seven of them, probably more from my district right now, that are trapped over there right now,” he said.
”They cannot get out. And you know what we were told? We were told today, I was told, that the State Department has some of them, and I won’t say where, that are [in] pretty big danger,” he added.
However, the State Department has been implicated repeatedly in stopping humanitarian flights out of Afghanistan, as Becker News first reported. The Taliban hostage situation is a plausible explanation, or excuse, for why Americans have not left since the last military plane out of Kabul.
Before the Aug. 31 “deadline,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. would be “looking to” the Taliban to provide safe passage for Americans exiting the country.
“You may have seen that just yesterday, a very senior Taliban official went on television and radio across the country and repeatedly assured people in Afghanistan that they would have the freedom to travel after August 31,” Blinken said.
“He even specifically said, those that work for the Americans and those that want to leave for whatever reason will have that freedom,” he continued.
“Now, of course, we don’t take the Taliban at their word,” he added. “We take them by their deed. And that is what we are going to be looking to.”
At the Aug. 31 “deadline,” U.S. General Kenneth McKenzie gave an update on the Biden administration’s evacuation effort to get Americans out of Afghanistan.
“Can you, give us a sense of whether or not they were any American citizens or any other civilians who were taken out on any of those last couple of C-17s that flew out this afternoon?” a reporte asked. “And can you give us a picture of what you saw with equipment and other things getting either destroyed or removed at the airport before they left?
“It was… no American citizens came out on the last what we call ‘the joint tactical expatriation,” Gen. McKenzie said. “The last five jets to leave.”
“We maintain the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out,” Gen. McKenzie admitted. “That activity ended probably about twelve hours before our exit. Although we continue the outreach and would have been prepared to bring them ont until the very last minute. But none of them made it to the a
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden gave his word that he was committed to getting all Americans ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden promised.
That promise is now broken as the Taliban are holding Americans ‘who want to get out’ against their will. Add a “hostage crisis” to Biden’s list of disasters.
President Biden is spending his Labor Day weekend on vacation in Delaware.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.