Is Biden abandoning US citizens in Afghanistan? Ex-CIA official issues warning

Ex-CIA official says the deadline to leave Kabul is shorter than August 31, 'doesn't matter who's left on the ground,' as the US closes airport access


                            Is Biden abandoning US citizens in Afghanistan? Ex-CIA official issues warning
US troops at Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz / U.S. Marine Corps via Getty Images) with an insert of President Joe Biden (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the chaotic evacuation of Afghanistan continues, it appears President Joe Biden could break his promise to ensure all Americans get out. On August 24, a former CIA official claimed the Biden administration had shortened the timeline, giving troops 72 hours to evacuate Kabul. If true, it would mean leaving behind not just Afghan allies, but also American citizens, since the administration decided "it doesn't matter who's left on the ground."

The shocking news is the latest addition to an already huge debacle, with Biden being slammed by almost everyone. On August 24, it emerged that almost two dozen California students and their families are stranded in Afghanistan. There are also thousands of Afghans with visas, who have not been allowed to enter the airport by the Taliban. Meanwhile, Jen Psaki seemed more focused on the semantics, slamming people for saying Americans are "stranded" in the country.

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Biden seems eager to stick to his August 31 deadline, a red line agreed upon with the Taliban. Despite a large number of Americans still to be evacuated, the president has pushed for troops to leave the country, as fears mount of a terrorist attack by ISIS and Al Qaeda. In fact, those fears seem so great that the administration has secretly decided to end operations in Kabul much earlier. A CIA official told The Daily Mail that troops could leave as soon as 72 hours, around August 29 according to sources.

This handout image shows U.S. Marines and Norweigian coalition forces assist with security at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla / U.S. Marine Corps via Getty Images)

 

Will Biden abandon Americans?

"I’m determined to ensure that we complete our mission," the president said on August 24. However, facts on the ground appear to speak differently. For one, the State Department has warned American citizens to stop trying to get to the airport on August 25. They also ordered people to leave the gates, citing a terror threat. That means there are still thousands of Americans on the ground, who will be unable to get to the airport, before the August 31 cutoff date. 

To add to this, Biden has been firm in his stance that American troops will leave on August 31. Despite massive criticism from allies, Republicans and even some Democrats, the president has refused to consider keeping troops on the ground longer. This is despite House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff himself confirming the August 31 deadline was "unlikely". He told the committee, "given the logistical difficulties of moving people to the airport and the limited number of workarounds, it's hard for me to see that being fully complete by the end of the month." 

At the heart of the issue is that there's no clue on the number of Americans still left on the ground. There are sporadic reports, such as the California students, that make their way to the media, but neither the State Department, nor the Pentagon knows for sure how many citizens are still in the country, or even where they are. Military and intelligence officials have refused to put an exact number in briefings and press conferences, only saying that the number of Americans left "was in the thousands". 

President Joe Biden holds a video conference to discuss the ongoing efforts to draw down the civilian footprint in Afghanistan on August 16, 2021, at Camp David in Frederick County, Maryland. (White House via Getty Images)

'We're pulling out within 72 hours'

Adding to those facts, former CIA officer Sam Faddis indicated that the timeline just got shorter. "Biden decided we're pulling out within 72 hours. We're gone, and it doesn't matter who's left on the ground," he told The Daily Mail. Faddis reportedly said he was given this information by sources inside the Pentagon, former military officials, and those on the ground in Kabul. "The word is, it doesn't matter about American citizens. Because there's no hard headcount," he added. 

Faddis told The Mail, "Every time I say it I find it staggering to even hear myself say it, but it's apparently true. We're just going to leave." He also confirmed, "anybody who is not gone is cut away." There's no confirmation of this, but Biden hinted that a full withdrawal could come sooner. In his August 24 remarks, he said, "The sooner we can finish, the better.  Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops."

The big question is whether Biden would actually leave US citizens behind. It's hard to believe he would, but given the chaos and confusion in Kabul, it does seem likely. With the airport becoming increasingly hard to defend, and just a few thousand troops on the ground, the reality is emerging that the US could pull out, leaving behind thousands to an uncertain fate at the hands of the Taliban. 

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