September 6, 2021
A possible hostage crisis is brewing as private rescue flights of U.S. citizens, SIVs, and green card holders are allegedly being actively blocked by the State Department as they try to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan.
A number of individuals involved in the rescue flights claim that the State Department is recklessly endangering the lives of Americans by delaying departure from the airport.
Rick Clay is one of those speaking up. He runs the private rescue group PlanB and told Fox News that the State Department is standing in the way of flights he’s organizing from leaving Afghanistan.
“This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives. Those are our people standing on the tarmac and all it takes is a f****ing phone call,” one of the rescuers told Fox News.
America: right now there is a private effort to get a plane of US citizens and allies out of Afghanistan. They need @SecBlinken to help get clearance to land in a nearby country.
Biden’s State Department is refusing to actively assist.
Their response: “just tell them to ask.”
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) September 2, 2021
“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands,” the person emphatically stated and added, “It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.”
There are reports that the State Department is actively preventing rescue flights from landing in neighboring countries. Everything is being channeled through the State Department for approval and it’s being alleged that they are blocking flights from landing in countries that have said they would take evacuees.
Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have all attempted to help PlanB and other organizations secure the approval they need to get the evacuees safely out of Afghanistan, according to Fox News.
Johnson said in a statement that it is “hard to believe that the U.S. government would deny American citizens and Afghan allies who helped save American lives the ability to evacuate Afghanistan.”
“However, what we’ve been hearing from people actually involved in evacuation is completely different from the administration’s rosy spin,” he claimed. “When I hear President Biden declare this debacle an ‘extraordinary success’ it not only shows he’s detached from reality, it also calls into question everything this administration is telling the American people.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki and State Department spokesman Ned Price both denied that the Biden administration was blocking planes from leaving Afghanistan on Thursday during a press briefing.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), who is the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, stated on Sunday on Fox News, “We have six airplanes at Mazar Sharif Airport , six airplanes with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now.”
“The state has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” he asserted. McCaul went on to claim that the flights were being used by the Taliban to bargain with the U.S. in return for full recognition of its authority in Afghanistan.
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked McCaul, “Since we left the country on Friday, how many Americans have gotten out of Afghanistan?”
“Zero,” McCaul replied. “I’m sorry, the answer to your question is zero.”
McCaul told viewers that Americans and Afghans were on the planes. It is unclear if his claim of an impending hostage crisis has been verified but the same assertion is being made by other political leaders.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted: “Joe Biden abandoned Americans in Afghanistan. Members of Congress, including me and my office, have been working around the clock to get them out – and for days Biden’s State Dept. couldn’t even get out of its own way. Now there are deeply disturbing reports of a hostage crisis.”
Joe Biden abandoned Americans in Afghanistan. Members of Congress, including me and my office, have been working around the clock to get them out – and for days Biden's State Dept. couldn't even get out of its own way. Now there are deeply disturbing reports of a hostage crisis. https://t.co/EMGd5wWGxs
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 5, 2021
The State Department proclaimed on Sunday that it does not have the “reliable means” to confirm the claim made by McCaul that flights out of Afghanistan carrying U.S. citizens were being prevented from taking off by the Taliban because it has no information about charter flights following the U.S. military withdrawal from the country, according to The Hill.