Taking responsibility does not seem to be a familiar concept to President Joe Biden. As his administration attempts to distract from the disaster it has created in Afghanistan, staff members of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul are sounding the alarm.
In a State Department diplomatic cable obtained by NBC News, local staff of the embassy were reportedly quoted expressing their distrust in Biden and the U.S. government as a whole.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration sent memos to Afghans working at the U.S. embassy suggesting they should make their way to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, NBC reported.
What followed was described in the cable as a “brutal experience” that included Taliban fighters striking, cursing and spitting on U.S. embassy staff members as they reached checkpoints leading up to the airport.
One staff member was quoted in the cable as saying, “It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than relive the experience.
“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another staffer said. Still others accused the U.S. of prioritizing higher-ups in the Afghan government who had contacts in the U.S. during the evacuations.
These claims fly directly in the face of Biden’s attempts to downplay the severity of the situation in and around the Kabul airport. In his Friday news conference, the president said he knew of “no circumstance where American citizens, carrying an American passport, are trying to get through to the airport [and can’t].”
REPORTER: Will you sign off on sending US troops into Kabul to evacuate Americans who haven’t been able to get to the airport safely?
BIDEN: …We know of no circumstance where American citizens, carrying an American passport, are trying to get through to the airport [and can’t]. pic.twitter.com/jK7i0wdoo3
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) August 20, 2021
According to ABC News’ Ian Pannell, that claim was completely inconsistent with the reality on the ground.
“I mean last night on ‘World News [Tonight],’ we had American citizens who had exactly that experience,” he said Friday. “They tried to get to the airport, they had waved their American passports … they were beaten by the Taliban with the rubber fan belt from a vehicle.
“Multiple examples of Americans and Afghans, [special immigrant visa] applicants, who have now tried repeatedly… It just seems the reality and the rhetoric are miles apart.”
.@DavidMuir: "The president said he has no intelligence that the Americans have not been able to get [to the Kabul airport]. The question, obviously—does that square with reporting on ground?"@IanPannell: "I mean—just totally not."
— ABC News (@ABC) August 20, 2021
If those American citizens with passports are not even being allowed to pass through to the airport, one can only imagine how bad the situation is for Afghans who are trying to escape as well. At least some Afghan staffers of the U.S. embassy seem to have been identified by the Taliban already.
“A local embassy staff member reported that his home had been tagged with spray paint — a tactic the Taliban have used in the past to identify homes’ occupants for further questioning, the cable said, adding that the family had been forced to flee their home but was unable to get to the airport,” NBC News reported.
According to the New York Post, at least seven people were trampled to death in the crowds attempting to escape Kabul on Sunday. One of the deceased was a 2-year-old child.
In addition, a gunfight broke out in Kabul on Monday and resulted in one Afghan guard being shot to death.
When the Biden administration tells Americans and Afghan SIV applicants to simply “get to the airport,” they are ignoring the reality of the crisis.
Taliban fighters are making the journey to the airport a living hell for many people trying to escape, and the Biden administration has devised no real plan to help them.