One year later: How many Americans are still abandoned in Afghanistan?

Source: Hot Air

As always, it depends on how one defines “American.” The State Department and White House continue to define it as “citizens,” even though legal permanent residents qualify for American passports. Even by their measure, Joe Biden’s retreat under fire from Afghanistan left behind hundreds if not thousands of American citizens, even though Biden had pledged a year ago almost to the day that the US wouldn’t leave one behind.

Politico got a count of the exfiltrations over the past year from House Republicans and the State Department, and they’re shocked at the number. They shouldn’t be:

The U.S. government has evacuated more than 800 American citizens from Afghanistan since the Taliban swept to power and U.S. troops officially left the country last August, according to data provided by House GOP investigators and the State Department.

The figure, which hasn’t been previously reported, highlights the ongoing nature of the efforts to make contact with and ultimately evacuate hundreds of Americans who were unable to leave Afghanistan as the U.S. military rapidly withdrew from the country last summer.

The data also underscores that hundreds more Americans were left behind in Afghanistan than was previously known.

That’s not entirely true. It’s more like thousands more Americans were left behind than the media liked to discuss, but the figures have been generally known for nearly a year. A State Department report to Congress in November put the figure at 14,000 Americans abandoned when including legal permanent residents (LPRs), commonly known as green-card holders. LPRs can carry American passports and are considered Americans in the diplomatic sense, and yet the State Department and Biden administration would only discuss US citizens in their counts — whenever anyone could pin them down at all on the issue of the Americans that Biden abandoned in his rush to retreat.

Even the 800 citizens apparently contradicts what the Biden administration told Congress last year:

Now, an investigation by the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Republican staff has found that 800 Americans were helped out of Afghanistan, indicating that the Biden administration either undercounted the number of Americans who wanted to depart the country or saw an uptick in the number of citizens willing to leave.

The same report also counts the number of evacuated LPRs at 600. Combined, that would make 1,400 exfils since the Biden collapse in Kabul. Compared to the State Department’s report to Congress in November, we’ve only confirmed the exit of one tenth of the abandoned Americans identified by the State Department in the year since Biden’s retreat.

Not only is that disgraceful, it’s also evidence of slowing efforts. The State Department claimed in December 2021 that 900 Americans (combined) had been exfiltrated at that point, four months after the rout in Kabul. If the new State figures are accurate, then we’ve only exfiltrated 700 more in eight months, less than half the rate after Biden’s bug-out.

And most of those exfils likely should get credited to private efforts. The State Department got in the way more than it helped in the first few months as private groups banded together to find exfil routes for abandoned Americans and our allies. My friend John Ondrasik led the efforts to raise resources for those groups and still focuses on those efforts at What Kind of World Do You Want, his non-profit group. It appears that the State Department hasn’t kept its focus, even to the extent it focused at all, on the evidence of Biden’s craven betrayal of Americans he left behind Taliban lines.

Of course, those aren’t the only people Biden betrayed a year ago. The New York Times professes its shock, shock that the Taliban are not much kinder and gentler after all:

Girls are barred from secondary schools and women from traveling any significant distance without a male relative. Men in government offices are told to grow beards, wear traditional Afghan clothes and prayer caps, and stop work for prayers.

Music is officially banned, and foreign news broadcasts, TV shows and movies have been removed from public airwaves. At checkpoints along the streets, morality police chastise women who are not covered from head to toe in all-concealing burqas and headpieces in public.

A year into Taliban rule, Afghanistan has seemed to hurtle backward in time. The country’s new rulers, triumphant after two decades of insurgency, have reinstituted an emirate governed by a strict interpretation of Islamic law and issued a flood of edicts curtailing women’s rights, institutionalizing patriarchal customs, restricting journalists and effectively erasing many vestiges of an American-led occupation and nation-building effort. …

To enforce their decrees and stamp out dissent, the new Taliban government has employed police state tactics like door-to-door searches and arbitrary arrests — drawing widespread condemnation from international human rights monitors. Those tactics have instilled an undercurrent of fear in the lives of those who oppose their rule, and have cut off the country from millions in development aid and foreign assistance as it slips again into pariah state status.

Golly, who could have predicted that? Pretty much everyone, and even Biden himself made it clear over many years that he didn’t care about women’s rights in Afghanistan. He got exactly what he wanted out of the retreat … and so did the Taliban.