The Biden administration is coming under fire for reportedly blocking private rescue efforts of American citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigration Visa (SIV) applicants out of Afghanistan.
“Rick Clay, who runs the private rescue group PlanB, told Fox News that the State Department is the only thing preventing the flights he’s organizing from leaving Afghanistan,” Fox News reported. “Two other American individuals separately involved in evacuation efforts, whom Fox News is not naming to avoid jeopardizing ongoing rescue efforts, similarly said that the State Department is the sole entity preventing their charter flights from leaving Afghanistan.”
One individual that Fox News spoke to said that “all it takes is a f***ing phone call” to fix the problem and that it was unacceptable to be “negotiating with American lives.”
“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands,” that individual said. “It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.”
Speaking to Fox News, one source said they believed the reason the Biden administration was blocking rescue efforts was that they were embarrassed that private citizens are taking it upon themselves to rescue Americans because of Biden’s failure.
The report said that the network reviewed Clay’s manifest of 4,500 people, which includes U.S. citizens, green card holders, and SIVs.
The State Department has reportedly received 800 names for the first round of flights that private citizens and entities to evacuate those trapped in Afghanistan. Fox News reports that two sources have confirmed Clay’s account of the events.
The report added:
After making little to no progress with the State Department, Clay’s group turned to senators from both parties: Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., have all sought to help PlanB and other organizations secure the approval they need to get the evacuees safely out of Afghanistan, organizers and Senate staffers told Fox News. Clay received word on Thursday that their flights out of Afghanistan would eventually receive approval following the State Department’s review of their manifest — a task that could take several days even as just the initial 800 names are subjected to the vetting process.
As of Sunday evening, the State Department had yet to give PlanB the green light to land any of their flights in any countries neighboring Afghanistan. The two other Americans involved in another private evacuation effort told Fox News that the State Department has secured them clearance to land in a neighboring country and that the Taliban has given them the green light to take off, dependent on State Department approval – which hasn’t come.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said on Sunday that the Taliban was holding Americans hostage by now allowing six flights to leave Afghanistan. CBS News later reported that the Taliban was denying flights permission to leave, according to congressional and NGO sources.
Daniel Lippman, a reporter at Politico, tweeted out a satellite image from Maxar Technologies that allegedly showed the six airplanes waiting to leave the country, writing: “Newly released satellite images show six commercial airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport in northern Afghanistan that are not being allowed to depart by the Taliban.”
“American citizens and Afghan interpreters are reportedly waiting to board the flights,” he added.
Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw echoed the report earlier this month when he accused the Biden administration of obstructing rescue efforts to get Americans out of the Taliban-controlled country.
“America: right now there is a private effort to get a plane of US citizens and allies out of Afghanistan,” Crenshaw said. “They need @SecBlinken to help get clearance to land in a nearby country. Biden’s State Department is refusing to actively assist. Their response: ‘just tell them to ask.'”