The Taliban are now reportedly blocking Westerners from traveling to the Kabul airport, expanding their airport blockade, despite assuring coalition forces that foreigners would be allowed access to evacuation flights.
According to The Wall Street Journal, private flights being organized to bypass the Biden administration’s pullout, are also facing “growing obstacles,” along with chartered planes designed to rescue Americans trapped in Kabul which are “flying out of Kabul with hundreds of empty seats.”
Earlier this week, the Taliban “issued an edict saying only foreigners will be able to access the airport for evacuation,” the Daily Mail reported.
“A spokesperson for the group ordered locals to return home. Roads in the city have been blocked in a bid to stop Afghans from leaving.”
However, those blockades are not only stopping Afghans, “but American citizens,” and halting evacuation efforts. Groups coordinating evacuations have found themselves needing to redirect people “on the fly.”
“New Taliban checkpoints on the road to Pakistan have made driving out of the country increasingly risky,” the Wall Street Journal continued. “Confusing bureaucratic hurdles have prevented countless people from leaving Afghanistan.”
The Washington Post’s editorial board noted Wednesday that “there may be only three or four days left for the gigantic airlift currently underway, because time must be left to fly out U.S. and other troops securing the airport themselves. Indeed, some troops have started leaving already.”
“Meanwhile,” however, the Post said, “the Taliban set up a new blockade of the airport road in Kabul to prevent more Afghans from leaving.”
“If Mr. Biden opposes that, he did not say so in his speech,” The Washington Post editorial board pointed out. “Mr. Biden, in short, has accepted a series of conditions that seems to make it much more difficult to keep the promises of evacuation he has made or strongly implied.”
“It’s a combination of tragic, surreal and apocalyptic,” the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s so frustrating to get high-risk people up to the gate and have them risking their lives to go there and you still can’t get them through. It’s a disaster in slow- and fast-motion.”
Private charities and groups like the Nazarene Fund have tried to step in to assist those in need of swift evacuation, but those efforts are proving more difficult as the deadline for withdrawal nears.
“There’s been an outpouring,” an official told NBC News. “It’s inspiring, but on the other hand, it is a damning reflection on the failure of the U.S. that private citizens are having to step in to do what the government with all its billions and trillions has failed to do.”
U.S. officials believe that thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan, including some far beyond Kabul, without a safe or fast way to get to the airport. Many also do not have confidence that the Biden administration will take the necessary steps to secure the safety of these Americans should the situation continued to devolve.
Author: Davis Sorenburg