The Department of Defense has issued strict orders restricting the mission to evacuate American personnel at the international airport in Kabul. The Biden administration reportedly counts on the Taliban to help Americans make their way to the airport for processing.
Meanwhile, special forces troops from Britain, Germany, and France are going into Kabul to rescue their stranded citizens.
Fox News reported on August 20 that U.S. troops are under strict orders to remain at the Kabul airport. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Brett Bair that no U.S. deal with the Taliban restricts American personnel to the airport. Kirby said that the troops are present to provide security inside the airport and ensure that flight operations can be carried on.
When Baier noted that other countries are actively rescuing their people stranded outside the airport, Kirby said that the U.S. military had not seen any great impediments to the safe passage the Taliban had agreed to allow. He added that Americans are getting through Taliban checkpoints.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said during an August 18 press conference that “the military could not go out and collect large numbers of Americans.”
President Biden was asked during a press conference on August 20 if U.S. troops might be sent out to assist stranded Americans. Biden said he did not indicate that Americans have not been able to get to the airport.
In contrast to Biden’s statements, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said that his office had received numerous accounts of Americans being harassed, beaten, and abused by Taliban thugs.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that British special forces had been deployed inside Kabul to rescue at least 200 U.K. citizens. Germany also has special forces using two helicopters inside Kabul to evacuate German personnel. France has reportedly used its military to escort more than 200 people to the airport from the city and other locations inside the country.
As the Biden administration’s self-imposed deadline of August 31 for evacuating all Americans looms, the pressure will mount on the White House to expand the scope of the rescue mission.