When Allahpundit released the story yesterday about the potential hostage situation at Mazar-e-Sharif airport in Afghanistan, virtually all media were caught off guard. Six planes with at least some American citizens and permanent residents were ready to take off, but the Taliban would prevent them from leaving. It has been suggested that the Taliban wanted to do some bargaining before the planes could take off. At first glance, it certainly looked like a hostage crisis.
Remember that all of this originally came from Texas Republican Representative Mike McCaul. How he got the information before everyone else remains a mystery, but there has been enough confirmation in the past 24 hours to make it clear that the Biden administration was aware of the situation but was hiding it from the public. We can (and will discuss) what the motivation for that decision was, but further reports over the next 12 hours confused the water a bit. The problem is, as is the case with so much news leaking out of Afghanistan these days, that conflicting reports tell very different stories about who is stuck in Mazar-e-Sharif, how many there are and why they are not allowed to leave. . The Associated Press analysis offers some competing scenarios, but none of their sources seem particularly bulletproof.
At least four planes chartered to evacuate several hundred people trying to escape the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan have not been able to leave the country for days, officials said Sunday, with conflicting reports emerging as to why the flights have not been able to take off as the pressure builds. to the United States to help those left behind to escape.
An Afghan official at the airport in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif said the would-be passengers were Afghans, many of whom had no passports or visas, and therefore could not leave the country. He said they had left the airport while the situation was being resolved.
The top Republican of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, however, said the group included Americans and that they were sitting on the planes, but the Taliban did not let them take off, effectively “holding them hostage.” He didn’t say where that information came from. It was not possible to reconcile the accounts immediately.
So there are reports that four or six planes are involved. They are all private charter planes used as part of an unmanaged effort by Washington to get people out. McCaul was saying that the stranded people were sitting on the planes, waiting for their chance to leave. Local residents and at least one Taliban spokesperson (unofficially) said people have been relocated to hotels in the area as the situation is resolved. Both of these stories may have been true at various points because this situation has been developing over several days rather than just showing up on Sunday.
As to who they are, McCaul says the passenger list includes American citizens and green card holders. The Taliban say they are Afghans who mostly lack passports and visas, preventing them from leaving. Local residents described the passengers as having “worked for companies allied with the US or German military”.
If this situation has been brewing since at least Friday, if not sooner, what sense does the Biden administration make in keeping it under control? They hoped to crush the impression that we are negotiating with terrorists about the fate of American citizens or legal residents? Or they were trying to hide the reality that this is what’s going on? Frankly, I doubt many of you would find surprising the idea of the Taliban trying to negotiate even more pallets of money and / or the American recognition of them as a valid government entity. Whether those negotiations are ongoing, we don’t know yet because, once again, the Biden administration is holding secret talks with the Taliban and does not inform the public about how those negotiations are progressing or what is on the table.
I’m pretty sure I once heard someone say something about it the most transparent administration ever. Or something like that, anyway. It’s easy to lose track of these times.
Meanwhile, an update from Free lighthouse shows that the Biden administration essentially admits that their hands are tied.
“We have no ground personnel, we have no air assets in the country, we do not control airspace, either over Afghanistan or anywhere else in the region,” a State Department spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon. “We understand the concern many people feel as they try to facilitate further charters and other transfers out of Afghanistan.”
This is certainly some refreshing if depressing honesty from the White House. Of course, we already know why we don’t have “ground personnel” or “air resources in the country”. It’s because we pulled out completely before letting everyone out. And now the Taliban have all the cards in their hands and, at least potentially, a plethora of hostages they can take to make sure we open the treasure vault for them. I realize that the White House wants to leave all of this behind and take Afghanistan off the front pages so they can focus on approving huge expense bills. But that’s not going to happen, folks. As the drama currently unfolding in Mazar-e-Sharif shows, this crisis is far from over. And there are hundreds (or more likely thousands) of other people who will seek help and flee in the weeks to come.
[ https://www.rocetoday.com/afghanistan-hostage-situation-at-the-mazar-e-sharif-airport/ https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf