Americans ‘trapped behind Taliban checkpoints’ in Kabul reach out to Republican senator for help
Americans stranded in Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover of the country have turned to seeking help outside the Biden administration, as at least one Republican senator has gotten messages from stranded citizens needing rescue.
A spokesman for US Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) told New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman on Sunday night that the lawmaker’s office had heard from “multiple US citizens in Kabul trapped behind enemy lines.” Cotton had put out a statement and social media messages earlier on Sunday inviting stranded US citizens to contact his office for help.
Cotton spokesman says that their office has heard from multiple US citizens in Kabul trapped behind Taliban checkpoints, who can’t safely reach the US perimeter and have no clear option for what to do. https://t.co/rY5QTSPLKd— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 16, 2021
“The situation is dire, but we’ll do everything in our power to help keep you informed and to help get you out,” Cotton said. He didn’t specify what evacuation aid will be available amid the chaos in Kabul.
The Taliban’s shockingly rapid takeover of Afghanistan, capped by Sunday’s seizing of Kabul, has left the Biden administration scrambling to get US embassy staff and Afghan allies out of the country quickly enough. In the past week, the embassy issued advisories to Americans, telling them to leave the country immediately but offering no assistance, except State Department loans for plane tickets.Also on rt.com As the Taliban closes in and the troops rush to avert disaster, the US is offering its citizens LOANS to flee Afghanistan
As the security situation deteriorated on Monday, the embassy had to be moved to Kabul’s airport for final staff evacuations, and American civilians still in Afghanistan were advised to “shelter in place.” With Afghan President Ashraf Ghani having fled the country and the Taliban in full control, it’s not clear how long the State Department envisioned US citizens hiding from jihadist fighters or how they would eventually be rescued by the Biden administration.
US evacuation flights out of Kabul have been interrupted by hundreds of desperate Afghans crowding onto the runway. US officials told the Associated Press on Monday that seven people had died at the airport, including some who fell after trying to cling to a departing American transport plane. Diplomats and civilians approved for seats on helicopter flights to get out of Kabul were given bracelets, but “there were no bracelets” for thousands of Afghans who worked with the US during the 20-year war, New York Times correspondent Helene Cooper said.
Cotton and other Republican lawmakers have blasted President Joe Biden for his administration’s handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul,” the Arkansas senator said on Saturday. He added that Biden should “unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans.”
At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.https://t.co/9uwC4XTxO2— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) August 14, 2021
The debacle has given Republicans fodder to attack Biden’s competence. Former President Donald Trump said on Sunday that his predecessor should “resign in disgrace” for causing one of the “greatest defeats in American history,” among other alleged failures.Also on rt.com Trump decries one of the ‘greatest defeats in American history’ amid Afghan collapse, calls for Biden to ‘resign in disgrace’
Senate candidate Mark Walker, a North Carolina Republican, deftly weaved concern for the stranded Americans with a jab at Biden: “Please pray for their safety, and may God help us with this level of incompetence.”
Senator Tom Cotton’s office has heard from US citizens in Kabul trapped behind Taliban checkpoints unable to make it the US perimeter. Please pray for their safety and may God help us with this level of incompetence.— Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) August 16, 2021
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