As the clock ticks down to August 31, Joe Biden’s self-imposed deadline for pulling the American military out of Afghanistan, many are asking if all the Americans and at-risk
Afghans can be evacuated by that deadline – and if they cannot be evacuated will the evacuation effort continue past Tuesday, August 31?
The State Department doesn’t really know exactly how many Americans are left on the ground, although some have estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 were there when the evacuations began, several U.S. officials said according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, the short answer is no, not all Americans and at-risk Afghans can or will be evacuated by August 31, and no, Joe Biden won’t, or rather can’t extend the deadline.
And the reason is quite simple – the facts on the ground are the Taliban holds all the cards.
The Taliban, through direct talks with the U.S. in Kabul, said it wouldn’t recognize any extension, nor would it assure that forces that stay in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31 wouldn’t be subject to attack.
10:00 hrs 26 August 2021 KBL Updated SitRep: Suicide bomber attacks Kabul airport after ISIS bomb threat: Afghans 'dead' while unknown number of Americans remain stranded behind Taliban lines. Pentagon DENIES it is evacuating in 36 HOURS.
The only reason the current evacuation effort is happening is because the Taliban allow it. They could shootdown every plane flying into and out of Kabul International Airport, so we are – if the truth be told – evacuating our fellow Americans only because we have their indulgence.
And their indulgence does not extend to Afghans whom they consider to be traitors and apostates.
The Taliban said they would prevent Afghan citizens from accessing Kabul’s airport for evacuation flights, a move that would strand tens of thousands of people who worked with Western governments and organizations and now fear reprisals by the country’s Islamist new rulers.
The announcement by the Taliban spokesman creates additional obstacles for the troubled international evacuation effort reported the Wall Street Journal. The Taliban have said that they won’t accept the presence of foreign forces beyond Aug. 31, the deadline that President Biden set for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Mr. Biden on Tuesday told other world leaders at a virtual summit of the Group of Seven nations that the U.S. is on pace to meet the Aug. 31 deadline, according to U.S. officials, but the officials noted that the evacuations are contingent on a number of factors, including cooperation from the Taliban.
According to data from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), reported by Julio Rosas on Townhall, the Taliban is now the most armed militant group today. Not only do they now possess large caches of firearms, including rifles and machine guns, but they now have combat aircraft and armored vehicles.
Most importantly, the Taliban have “inherited” an unknown, but substantial number of man-portable air defense missiles, including possibly the devastating U.S. made Stinger missile.
According to reporting by Jeff Stein for the Daily Beast, the exact number of missiles and their origin, kind, age and viability are hard to come by. A 2019 report by the RAND Corp. think tank put the total at an alarming 4,500, but according to experts, that figure is unreliable, and almost certainly represents the number of MANPADS—Man-portable air defense systems—acquired by successive Kabul regimes going back decades.
Unnamed “experts” cited by Mr. Stein claim it’s highly unlikely that Washington supplied any U.S. made Stinger missiles to Kabul. Any MANPADs left today likely represent a fraction of those acquired by the Taliban regime overthrown by the U.S. in 2001, or its predecessors.
However, the UK’s Guardian published a report in 2010 claiming the US military covered up a reported surface-to-air missile strike by the Taliban that shot down a Chinook helicopter over Helmand in 2007 and killed seven soldiers, including a British military photographer, the war logs show.
The strike on the twin-rotor helicopter showed the Taliban enjoyed sophisticated anti-aircraft capabilities earlier than previously thought, casting new light on the battle for the skies over Afghanistan.
Hundreds of files detail the efforts of insurgents, who have no aircraft, to shoot down western warplanes. The war logs detail at least 10 near-misses by missiles in four years against coalition aircraft, one while refueling at 11,000ft and another involving a suspected Stinger missile of the kind supplied by the CIA to Afghan rebels in the 1980s.
Last year the Military Times reported a U.S. intelligence report that highlighted that Iran was funneling small arms and Russian SA-7 shoulder fired air-defense systems to the Taliban through a former Afghan security official.
What’s more, a U.S. defense official told CNN just this past Saturday, “There is a strong possibility ISIS-K is trying to carry off an attack at the airport.” A senior diplomat in Kabul also told CNN that officials “are aware of a credible but not immediate threat by Islamic State against Americans at Hamid Karzai International Airport.” The U.S. military has been establishing “alternative routes” to the airport to avoid terror operatives, CNN said.
Here's the bottom line: Biden is going to pull out of Afghanistan on August 31, leaving an unknown number of Americans and thousands of at-risk Afghans to the tender mercies of the Taliban because he created a humanitarian and national security debacle that has left him no choice.
The toll-free Capitol Switchboard is (1-866-220-0044), call you Senators and Representative and demand they investigate the number of American weapons, and especially the number of man-portable antiaircraft systems, left by Biden in Afghanistan.
August 31 deadline
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken
CIA Director William J. Burns