‘Tell The State Dept. To F**k Themselves’: Taliban Taunt Americans During Chaotic Escape From Afghanistan
US Congressional Staffers frantically working to help evacuate US citizens, legal permanent residents and family members from Afghanistan have received disturbing reports of the chaos which unfolded in the final days before and after the US military’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to the Washington Examiner.
From being on the phone with individuals dodging gunfire to messages describing Taliban beating U.S. citizens, lives are on the line as an ever-changing security landscape hamstrings staff members working long hours to assist those stranded.
One message screenshot shared with the Washington Examiner, which is not being directly quoted to protect the identities and safety of those still in Kabul, describes a group of U.S. citizens who arranged for transportation to the airport. The Taliban only let a few through, beating the rest and firing gunshots over their heads, sending them running.
Retired Air Force colonel Felix Ungerman, who serves as Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon (R)’s Deputy Chief of Staff, recalls a frantic conversation with a US citizen in Kabul who was reporting to a citizen’s access point – which he’d been attempting to access for days – when the Taliban began opening fire.
“He goes, ‘Oh my god, he’s shooting.’ And I said, ‘Please get away from there, go get to safety,’” Ungerman said. “His phone cut off while I could hear gunshots going off, and I couldn’t get in touch with him again. I tried calling his cellphone every couple of hours to see if I could get him, tried an email, sent him a text message. And it wasn’t until [Tuesday] morning that he actually texted me back and said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK, but now what do I do?’ I’m like, ‘You get to somewhere safe, and you stay there until we can — our government can offer some solutions to help you.’”
Rep. Mike Garcia’s (R-CA) office also coordinated with an Afghan-American mother and her children – US citizens, to try and get them through another checkpoint. According to the Examiner, she provided a video of her sitting her car in the dark – holding up their four blue passports and asking what she can do.
“This is why you don’t rely on the Taliban to be the ones monitoring the checkpoints,” said Garcia, a former Navy pilot.
One Afghan-American citizen who worked with Bacon’s office said the Taliban “were creating as much problem as they could.” After the State Department told him to go to the Interior Ministry, he encountered a Taliban guard and explained he was told to go there.
“He told me, ‘Go and tell the State Department to f*** themselves.’”
He eventually got into the Kabul airport after taking a big risk outside the gate during a firefight, in which guards shot at peoples’ feet to disperse the crowd.
“Everybody run away,” he said. It was the day after the ISIS-K bombing at Abbey Gate. “I know it was stupid, but I took just my chance. I ran towards the soldiers. I had my passport in my hand — shouting that I’m an American citizen.” -Washington Examiner
“We had to build a process,” said an aide to Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), whose office worked with one large group that had arranged for a charter flight to escape, before the State Department pulled their clearance to leave in the wake of the ISIS-K bombing last week. The group is trying to now come up with an alternate plan – but are having trouble getting the State Department to help.
“Where we were successful is where we weren’t necessarily beholden or waiting on the State Department,” said Garcia. “In fact, all of our successes — we ended up getting roughly 97 folks out successfully — these were all folks that we were able to do so through our own channels and folks on the ground there that were supporting mostly American citizens and SIV’s who otherwise would have been stopped by the bureaucracy, frankly, by the State Department.”
Fri, 09/03/2021 – 09:14