President Biden defended his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan during his address to the American people Tuesday afternoon, labeling the effort an “extraordinary success.”
“No nation has ever done anything like it in all of history. Only the United States had the capacity and the will to do it, and we did it today. The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill and bravery and selflessness courage of the United States Military,” said the President.
Joe Biden calls the mess of an evacuation from Afghanistan an "extraordinary success”. pic.twitter.com/8DOx35qTPQ
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 31, 2021
The US Embassy in Afghanistan posted a dire message on its official webpage Tuesday, saying the office has “suspended operations” and Americans can no longer rely on “United States government assistance.”
“The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. While the U.S. government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, we will continue to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar,” states the memo.
“The Embassy will continue to provide information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), the Embassy web page, Travel.State.Gov, and Facebook and Twitter. Consular services remain available outside Afghanistan. To locate the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate click here,” adds the warning.
“Make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so that do not rely on U.S. government assistance,” warns the message.
Latest security alert on US Embassy In Afghanistan website: “Make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.” pic.twitter.com/d2DujvpSZ2
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) August 31, 2021
Read the full memo below:
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on August 31, 2021. While the U.S. government has withdrawn its personnel from Kabul, we will continue to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar.
The Embassy will continue to provide information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), the Embassy web page, Travel.State.Gov, and Facebook and Twitter. Consular services remain available outside Afghanistan. To locate the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate click here.
The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. citizens still in country should:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
to receive security updates and ensure you can be located in an emergency.
- Review your personal security plans.
- Be aware of your surroundings and local security developments at all times.
- Keep a low profile.
- Notify a trusted person of your travel and movement plans.
- Make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Monitor local media.
- Please review, “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.”
Resources for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan:
- State Department – Consular Affairs Afghanistan Call Center
833-741-2777 or 606-260-4379
- Embassy Citizens’ Services Page
- Afghanistan Country Information
- Afghanistan Travel Advisory
- Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.
- Refer to our website for the latest Alerts and Messages for U.S. citizens.
- Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19.
- Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Afghanistan.
- Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to ensure you receive Alerts and other information
For information on Special Immigrant Visas see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/immigrate/special-immg-visa-afghans-employed-us-gov.html
BREAKING REPORT: ‘Taliban Offered Kabul to the US, But Americans Said No’
From Fox News:
Taliban fighters took the Afghan capital city of Kabul faster than anyone anticipated earlier this month – including the Taliban – but according to a Washington Post report, the U.S. had an opportunity to hold the city only to willingly turn it over.
When Afghanistan‘s president Ashraf Ghani fled the country, the city began to collapse as gangs were reported to be taking over. This led to U.S. military leaders meeting and reaching an agreement with the Taliban, a U.S. official told the Post.
“We have two options to deal with it,” Taliban political leader Abdul Ghani Baradar reportedly said, according to the official. “You [the United States military] take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.”
Faced with the decision of whether to accept control over Kabul or allow the Taliban to do so, the U.S. opted for the latter, given President Biden’s insistence on withdrawing from Afghanistan by August 31. As part of the agreement, the U.S. assumed control of Kabul’s airport until the end of the month to facilitate its exit while the Taliban ruled the city.
According to the Post’s report, the Taliban had no intention of taking control of Kabul that day. Prior to Ghani’s departure, the U.S. had not anticipated it either, as several top officials had reportedly been on vacation.
The chaos that ensued when Ghani left, however, required someone to step in. The U.S. decided that it should be the Taliban.
Taliban commander Muhammad Nasir Haqqani was surprised by the outcome. After he and his men reached the city they awaited instructions. Later that day they went in and occupied the palace in under an hour.
Read the full report at Fox News.
CHAOS KABUL: US Troops Kill 2 Gunmen at the Airport, Biden to Address the Nation at 3:45PM
US Troops shot and killed two armed gunmen at Kabul’s Airport Monday as thousands of Afghans attempted to flee the country while the Taliban rapidly seizes control.
“In separate incidents at the airport on Monday, U.S. troops shot and killed two armed men at the airport and at least three Afghans clinging to the side of an Air Force jet were run over and killed,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
At least 7,000 US Soldiers will be deployed to protect the airport and evacuate American citizens in the days ahead.
President Biden will address the nation at 3:45 from the White House.
Biden will address the country today, as Afghans clinging to US planes fall to their deaths in Kabul. Hard to script a worse propaganda victory for our enemies as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11. There is nothing Biden can say now to right the wrong of his failed policy.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) August 16, 2021
A reporter on CNN described the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan’s capital city Monday; telling viewers the Taliban fighters are chanting “Death to America” but they “seem friendly at the same time.”
“The Taliban fighters have flooded the capital. Smiling and victorious, they took the city of six million people in a matter of hours, barely firing a shot,” says the narrator.
“They tell us they’re here to maintain law and order,” she adds. “They’re just chanting ‘Death to America’ but they seem friendly at the same time.”
CNN REPORTER ON TALIBAN: "They're just chanting 'death to America,' but they seem friendly at the same time."
The same reporter then says the Taliban have a "welcoming spirit" as they wave rifles in the air.
Yes, this is a real clip. pic.twitter.com/VdXWplr8V2
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 16, 2021
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan weighed-in on the chaos engulfing Afghanistan Monday; admitting the Biden administration was caught off-guard by the “speed” of the Taliban advance.
“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan told ABC News. “He thought the Afghan national security forces could step up and fight because we spent 20 years, tens of billions of dollars, training them, giving them the best equipment, giving them support of U.S. forces for 20 years.”
“When push came to shove, they decided not to step up and fight for their country,” Sullivan added.
Scenes of panic and chaos played out at the airport in Kabul as crowds of people desperate to escape Afghanistan rushed onto the tarmac.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 16, 2021
“We planned for a wide range of contingencies, one of those was the need to flow in a substantial number of forces to secure the airport and be able to facilitate that evacuation,” Sullivan explained. “We have now successfully drawn down the U.S. embassy in Kabul. We have moved all of those personnel either to the airport or out of the country. And we flowed in several thousand troops who had been prepositioned in theater for precisely this purpose.”
BREAKING: Seven people are dead amid the chaos at the Kabul airport, including some who fell from a departing American military transport jet, senior U.S. military officials say. https://t.co/2JPKZXpx4n
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 16, 2021
“We are working to do that, first, by securing the airport today and then in the days ahead, by taking people out one flight a time, flight after flight,” Sullivan said. “We fully intend to continue an evacuation process to bring out people who worked alongside of us in Afghanistan.”
— The Hill (@thehill) August 16, 2021
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.