Aftermath of Kabul airport explosion
People are seen being escorted away from the site of an explosion outside Kabul’s airport.
Another witness describes ‘mayhem’ right now outside Kabul’s airport
Bill, a witness in Kabul, Afghanistan, describes the situation at the Kabul airport following an explosion.
Pentagon confirms ‘US & civilian casualties’ following Kabul explosions
Photo shows smoke rising from Kabul airport following explosion
Smoke is seen rising from an explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. At least 3 U.S. Marines were injured in the blast, officials tell Fox News.
Suicide bombing outside Kabul airport wounds at least 3 US Marines hours after warnings
A suicide bombing outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan Thursday injured at least three U.S. Marines, U.S. officials confirmed.
A U.S. official indicated that the attack set off a firefight at Abbey Gate, where last night, there were 5,000 Afghans and potentially some Americans seeking access to the airport.
The bombing comes hours after the State Department warned Americans outside the gates of the Kabul airport to “leave immediately” due to the increasing terrorist threat.
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US officials describe suicide bombing, ‘complex attack’ at Kabul airport
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon on the attack on Kabul airport.
Afghan witness to Kabul airport explosion says baby girl died in his arms
Carl, an Afghan witness to the Kabul airport explosion, describes what happened.
3 US Marines wounded in Kabul airport explosion
At least 3 U.S. Marines have been wounded in the explosion outside Kabul’s airport, officials tell Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
US Embassy in Afghanistan issues new security warning
The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan has just issued a new warning that “U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates at this time.”
“There has been a large explosion at the airport, and there are reports of gunfire,” the alert said. “U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately.”
Second explosion reported in Kabul
A second explosion has been reported near Kabul’s airport, Fox News has confirmed.
Kabul airport explosion described as ‘complex attack’
Capitol Hill sources tell Fox News’ Chad Pergram that the explosion happened outside Kabul’s airport after someone detonated a suicide vest.
Then a gunfight erupted. All airport gates processing evacuees are now closed and sources describe the incident as a “complex attack”.
At least 3 US troops hurt in Kabul airport suicide bombing, officials say
At least 3 U.S. troops have been wounded in the suicide bombing outside Abbey Gate, U.S. officials tell Fox News.
The extent of the injuries are not clear.
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President Biden briefed about Kabul airport explosion
A White House official tells Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich that President Biden has been briefed about the explosion.
Pentagon confirms explosion outside Kabul’s airport
Explosion reported outside Kabul airport
There was an explosion outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul airport, U.S. officials confirm to Fox News.
It’s not clear how many people are potentially injured or killed.
Last night, there were 5,000 Afghans and potentially some Americans outside Abbey Gate at the airport.
This explosion, again, it’s unclear how big, comes hours after the State Department warned Americans outside the gates of the Kabul airport to “leave immediately” due to the increasing terrorist threat.
Crowded conditions as evacuees processed in Qatar
Fox News has obtained images showing crowded conditions as evacuees from Afghanistan are being processed in Qatar.
A White House official said earlier Thursday that around 13,400 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan between 3 a.m. ET Wednesday and 3 a.m. ET this morning.
More than 600 US troops have departed Afghanistan, US officials say
A total 5,200 U.S. troops currently remain at Kabul’s airport, down from a peak of 5,800 a few days ago, Fox News has learned.
The U.S. military mission is likely to end in Kabul in the next three or four days, officials say.
Evacuation flights also are beginning to slow down. More than 13,000 evacuated yesterday — but that is down 6,000 from the day before, according to the latest Pentagon stats.
Taliban using tear gas outside Kabul airport
Hundreds are still trying to escape Afghanistan despite U.S. advising people to leave the airport immediately over ‘imminent’ terror bomb threat. Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich reports.
Photo shows Kabul airport gate being closed
A U.S. soldier holds a sign indicating a gate is closed as hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.
Some evacuation flights leaving Kabul without being filled to capacity
More reports are emerging that flights are leaving Kabul without being filled to capacity.
The war in Afghanistan cost America $2.3 trillion over 2 decades
America’s nearly 20-year military mission to reshape Afghanistan was the United State’s longest foreign war, with a death toll in the tens of thousands and a multitrillion-dollar price tag that future generations will be paying off for years to come.
The war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, 2001 as part of former President George W. Bush’s wider war against terrorism.
Four U.S. presidents have presided over the war. The cumulative cost of the war – including operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan – is $2.31 trillion, according to new figures published this week by the Brown University Costs of War project. That figure does not include future expenditures, including lifetime care for U.S. veterans or future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the war.
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Update on American evacuation efforts
A White House official said Thursday that around 13,400 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan between 3 a.m. ET Wednesday and 3 a.m. ET this morning.
The evacuees left on 17 U.S. military and 74 coalition flights, the official added, noting that the U.S. has now evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of approximately 95,700 people since Aug. 14.
Kamala Harris says evacuating Americans, Afghan allies is Biden admin’s ‘highest priority’
Vice President Kamala Harris said evacuating Americans and U.S. allies in Afghanistan is the administration’s “highest priority” while answering reporters’ questions in Vietnam on Thursday.
She reiterated the U.S. has already evacuated more than 80,000 people since the Taliban took Kabul earlier this month.
Still, thousands remained in limbo and the State Department issued a warning Thursday urging people to get away from the Kabul airport because of an “imminent” terrorist threat.
“Each day and night we continue to evacuate thousands, understanding it’s risky for them to be there,” Harris told reporters in Hanoi, acknowledging it’s a “dangerous, difficult mission but it must be seen through and we intend to see it through as best we can.”
She said the administration was working with allies to ensure “we keep a focus on this issue to do everything we can” regarding evacuations and to protect women and children living in the region.
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Kabul airport may see ‘imminent attack,’ perhaps in ‘hours,’ British official warns
The possibility of an “imminent attack,” perhaps within “hours,” loomed over Kabul’s airport on Thursday, according to a British official.
James Heappey, Britain’s armed forces minister, told the BBC on Thursday there was “very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack” possibly targeting the airport in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of people have been gathering over the past two weeks in hopes of leaving the country.
Other warnings in Western capitals addressed possible threats from the Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group, The Associated Press reported.
The latest reports followed a U.S. Embassy warning in Afghanistan that U.S. citizens who might be gathered at specific gates of the Kabul airport should “leave immediately.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, however, dismissed the reports of possible attacks, calling them “not correct.” But he did not elaborate, the AP reported.
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Biden hears from Reps. Slotkin, Sherrill about Aug. 31 Afghanistan deadline extension: report
President Biden on Wednesday heard from two Democratic U.S. House members – each with defense experience – who seek an extension of Biden’s Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline.
U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey spoke with Biden after a bill signing ceremony at the White House, PBS reporter Meredith Lee posted on Twitter.
“We did not always agree,” Slotkin wrote on Twitter about her conversation with the president, while a Sherrill spokesman described the meeting as a “frank conversation.”
Numerous critics in Washington – from both parties — have criticized Biden for sticking with the Aug. 31 deadline, claiming the president would be “abandoning” those who want to leave Afghanistan if evacuations can’t be completed by next Tuesday.
Slotkin, 45, a first-term congresswoman, is a former assistant secretary of defense, serving during the Obama administration, and also worked for the CIA.
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Former Afghan translator warns Taliban is hunting down, executing US allies
A former translator for a high-ranking U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan told Fox News Wednesday the Taliban have begun publicly executing allies of the U.S. in provinces away from the media attention of Kabul.
The interpreter, who remained nameless for protection, warned of the Taliban retaliation on “The Faulkner Focus” and said he’s losing hope to free his family of American citizens still trapped in the country.
“They are not doing really bad stuff in Kabul right now because there’s a lot of media focus on Kabul, but they already started public execution in other provinces where a lot of media is not available or covering it,” the interpreter said.
“They started hunting down people in other provinces and they just executed a police officer yesterday and they did public hangings of four officers like last week… they are retaliating against people who sided with the U.S. and now the U.S. is leaving them behind.”
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ISIS-K: What to know about Taliban rival that may pose a threat to Afghanistan evacuation
The United States has fought against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Haqqani insurgent groups in Afghanistan for the last two decades, but counter-terrorism experts warn that the imminent threat ISIS-K poses could prove catastrophic.
The group referred to as ISIS-K is the “Khorasan” branch of the Islamic State, located in Afghanistan.
The insurgent group formed after a faction within the Taliban splintered and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – in October 2014.
By 2015 the offshoot ISIS-K became formally recognized as a terrorist organization, Katherine Zimmerman, a fellow in foreign and defense policy for the American Enterprise Institute, told Fox News.
Zimmerman explained that the group has an even more hardline vision of its interpretation of Islam than the Taliban, and that has established an adversarial dynamic between the two terrorist organizations.
“They define their enemies differently,” she said. “The Islamic State sees anybody who does not accept its vision as an enemy – that includes the Taliban, that includes the Shia, that includes the west,” Zimmerman added.
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NY Mag piece complains the media ‘manufactured’ Biden’s Afghanistan crisis
A piece published in New York Magazine’s Intelligencer complained how the media “manufactured” President Biden’s “politico fiasco” regarding his handling of the turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Intelligencer writer Eric Levitz began his piece by touting how the Afghan withdrawal “has yet to cost our nation a single casualty” and that evacuations are proceeding “at a faster pace than the White House had promised.”
“In other words, Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a ‘disastrous’ and ‘humiliating’ ‘fiasco,’ in the words of the mainstream media’s ostensibly objective foreign-policy journalists,” Levitz wrote. “Yet this political fiasco is not a development that the media covered so much as one that it created.”
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Bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus calls on Biden to extend Afghanistan withdrawal deadline
The House Problem Solvers Caucus has voted to officially call on President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 withdrawal date from Afghanistan as the administration scrambles to evacuate Americans stranded in Taliban-controlled Kabul.
“As Democrats and Republicans, we stand united in our commitment to protecting U.S. citizens, diplomats, intelligence officers, and our foreign partners who are currently attempting to flee Afghanistan,” the statement endorsed by the caucus read. “In this time of tremendous danger, politics must be put aside to advance our common goals. From this week’s bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives.”
Taliban spokesman claims no proof bin Laden behind Sept. 11 terror attacks; ‘There is no evidence’
A Taliban spokesperson on Wednesday said no proof exists that implicates Usama bin Laden in the Sept. 11 terror attacks despite a mountain of evidence that connects the deceased al Qaeda leader to the airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
During an interview with NBC News’s Richard Engel from Afghanistan, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid made the claim in response to a question about whether the country will again become a base for terrorism as the Biden administration prepares for the withdrawal of U.S.troops.
Man with family stranded in Afghanistan cautions Biden on trusting the Taliban
An Afghan refugee who escaped the Taliban 20 years ago is fighting for his family’s safe return amid the collapse of Afghanistan.
Mansur, who is now living in the United States, told “America’s Newsroom,” Wednesday four of his family members are currently stranded in Afghanistan and warned President Biden to not trust the Taliban and “fall for their lies.”
“I hope and I pray that the president hears this…he understands that we all have family members. We’re all human. We’re all trying. We all want our family to be safe,” Mansur said. “Don’t fall for their lies, don’t listen to their stories, and do what you can to get as many people that want to get out as safely as possible, that includes these four beautiful people of mine as well, please.”
Jesse Watters: Trump killed terrorists, Joe Biden takes orders from them
President Biden is blatantly allowing the Taliban to take advantage of the United States, “The Five” co-host Jesse Watters argued Wednesday.
Watters said the major difference between Biden and Donald Trump’s foreign policy approaches was the former president’s ability to assert dominance while the current commander in chief appears to cower to the threat of terrorism.
“He’s thanking the Taliban for letting Americans get to the airport; Americans are getting beaten on the way to the airport,” he stressed. “I don’t see how this shakes out right now. I mean, say what you want about Trump, at least Trump killed terrorists. Joe Biden takes orders from terrorists.”
Air Force crew helps Afghan woman deliver healthy baby girl on flight to freedom
A U.S. Air Force crew on an evacuation flight out of Kabul this week helped save hundreds of lives – and delivered a new one before touching down safely at a coalition airbase.
The flight nurse, Capt. Leslie Green, of the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, told Fox News Wednesday it was the first time she’d ever helped deliver a baby.
“The hard part, she did by herself,” she said of the Afghan woman whose healthy newborn daughter arrived minutes before landing. “The baby was perfect. [She] was small, a little bit small, definitely didn’t make full term, but came out crying – so she seemed to be doing well in this world.”
U.S. Kabul Embassy advises U.S. Citizens at multiple airport gates to leave immediately
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is warning U.S. citizens to stay away from multiple gates at Kabul’s airport.
“Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” a security alert reads.
The alert also tells citizens to be “aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.”
GOP Rep. Comer requests briefing on vetting process for Afghan refugees amid terrorism concerns
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., called Wednesday for Biden administration officials to brief lawmakers on their efforts to vet Afghan refugees amid concerns that bad actors could seek to exploit chaotic withdrawal operations to enter the United States.
Comer detailed his concerns in letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. His request for a briefing came as the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate thousands of people still seeking to leave Afghanistan before President Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
“Our country owes a moral obligation to those who put themselves at great personal risk to provide substantial assistance to coalition forces in Afghanistan. We therefore must work to ensure those individuals safe passage out of Afghanistan,” Comer wrote in the letters. “It is no secret that terrorists and other bad actors will always seek to exploit any and all weaknesses in border security and vetting of foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States.”
Baby girl born on flight fleeing Afghanistan named after aircraft call sign
The four-star Air Force general overseeing U.S. European Command said Wednesday that the Afghan baby born on an evacuation flight last week has been named “Reach” in honor of the call sign of the aircraft on which she was delivered.
“We’ve had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby that was born the C-17 inbound to Ramstein,” Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters told reporters. “They named the little girl Reach. And they did so because the call sign of the C-17 aircraft that flew them from Qatar to Ramstein was ‘Reach.’
“As you can well imagine being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a U.S. citizen and fly United States Air Force,” he added.
Tillis demands answers after reports of Afghan allies not being allows into Kabul airport
Sen. Tom Tillis demanded answers after reports surfaced that Afghan allies, including Special Immigrant Visa holders, were no longer being allowed into Kabul’s airport.
Pentagon sources confirmed to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin Wednesday that Afghan allies were facing Taliban checkpoints at every airport gate, with U.S. forces on the ground not intervening to assist them.
“My office is hearing reports from Afghan SIVs on the ground that over the last 12 hours they have been turned away at the gate at the Kabul airport and being told that only valid U.S. passport holders are allowed inside,” Tillis said. “This obviously does not square with what the Biden administration has been emphasizing all day that Afghan allies remain a priority.”
“U.S. Marines are consummate professionals. They follow orders and execute policy directives. They don’t freelance. The State Department is the entity calling the shots,” Tillis continued.
“We need to immediately know who directed Marines to tell our Afghan allies at the gate that only U.S. passport holders are permitted inside, and whether this reflects a dramatic reversal in policy to not allow more of our Afghan allies into the airport.”
Bipartisan group of lawmakers planned Afghanistan trip in defiance of Pelosi and McCarthy
Some House members from both sides of the aisle were planning to head to Afghanistan despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging their members not to travel to the region, Fox News has learned.
The cohort of House members, both Republicans and Democrats, either were trying to get to Afghanistan or intended to travel there to assist in the evacuation effort of American citizens and others from Kabul, multiple sources have told Fox News.
It’s believed that no additional House members were attempting Wednesday to travel to Afghanistan. However, Fox News is told some lawmakers could “freelance” and head there on their own in the future, despite the bipartisan admonitions.
Psaki grilled about Biden joking in response to Afghanistan question
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was grilled about President Biden joking in response to a question about the crisis in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Biden was asked by a reporter what he will do if Americans remain in Afghanistan after the Aug. 31 deadline, prompting the president to quip: “You’ll be the first person I call.”
Fox News’ Peter Doocy pressed Psaki on Biden’s response to the reporter’s question, asking her: “What’s so funny?”
Psaki caught flat-footed by question about California students stranded in Afghanistan
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was caught flat-footed during the daily press briefing when she was asked about a group of California students who are trapped in Afghanistan.
Psaki was asked Wednesday if she knew about an LA Times report that a group of students and their parents from California’s El Cajon Valley School District are currently stranded in Afghanistan.
The reporter asked, “The L.A. Times has a story saying that a group of students and their parents are in Afghanistan. Do you have any more information on that or is that?–“
“I do not. Who have recently traveled into Afghanistan?” Psaki stated in response, appearing confused about the report cited.
U.S. Marine interacts with Afghan children
Psaki says US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists despite Biden depending on Taliban for evacuation
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that U.S. policy is still not to negotiate with terrorists, despite the Biden administration relying heavily on the statements and promises by Taliban leaders to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.
During her daily press briefing, Psaki was asked by Fox News’ Peter Doocy “Why haven’t we heard the president say, ‘The United States does not negotiate with terrorists?’ Is that still U.S. policy?”
“Well, of course it is, Peter,” Psaki replied. “But I would also say that there’s a reality that the Taliban is currently controlling large swaths of Afghanistan. That is the reality on the ground, and right now our focus and our priority is getting American citizens evacuated and our Afghan partners evacuated.
Blinken says about 1,500 Americans are still in Afghanistan and want to leave
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he believes less than 1,000 American citizens are still in Afghanistan attempting to leave.
Blinken said that there were 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan on August 14 and 4,500 of them have been evacuated within the last 10 days. He added that 500 of the remaining number have been instructed on how to leave within the last 24 hours.
“From the list of approximately 1,000, we believe that the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is lower, and likely significantly lower,” Blinken explained.
Rep. Waltz’: Looming hostage crisis could make Iran in 1979 ‘look like a sleepover’
Republicans tore into President Biden on Wednesday, claiming that the commander-in-chief’s pledge to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by August 31 could lead to a bigger hostage situation than Iran in 1979.
“We’re on the cusp of having the biggest mass hostage situation in American history,” said Florida Congressman Michael Waltz. “It’s gonna make 1979 in Tehran look like a sleepover.”
AOC says Biden must resettle minimum of 200K Afghans in US
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that President Biden’s administration must agree to resettle a minimum of 200,000 Afghan refugees in the United States.
The self-described democratic socialist said in an interview that she supports raising the number of available Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to 200,000 as tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted coalition forces and others who are vulnerable to Taliban reprisal struggle to flee the country.
Biden’s meeting with Israeli prime minister to keep spotlight on Afghanistan
President Biden’s upcoming meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to center on the escalating crisis in Afghanistan, as well as other emerging threats to the U.S. and its allies due to the rise of terrorism in the region, experts predict.
Biden is set to hold a meeting at the White House Thursday with Prime Minister Bennett, the first in-person meeting between the two leaders. In a statement last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had said tensions with Iran are expected to be a focus of the discussion.
“The President and Prime Minister Bennett will discuss critical issues related to regional and global security, including Iran,” said Psaki in a statement announcing the meeting. “The visit will also be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians and the importance of working towards a more peaceful and secure future for the region.”
McCarthy says Biden is leaving US hostages for the Taliban: ‘He turned his back on our own citizens’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted President Biden for sticking to an Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan and said “thousands of Americans” could be left stranded in the Taliban-controlled country as a result.
“The president’s misguided decisions run the risk of creating the largest international hostage situation we’ve ever faced as a nation,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said at Capitol news conference on Wednesday.
Americans left in Afghanistan
Former Marine, CIA officer helping American troops at Kabul airport identify evacuees from crowds
A former U.S. Marine and CIA officer who served in Afghanistan tells Fox News he is now helping people flee the war-torn country by relaying information that helps identify them to American troops stationed at the packed gates of Kabul’s airport.
The source said Wednesday that he lucked out in that his former Marine infantry battalion is on the ground in Kabul, including the commanding officer who he went through training with at Quantico.
“I was able to reach out to him and say ‘hey I got this situation, these folks are trying to get through’ and he is at one of the gates and might be able to give us very specific instructions about how to navigate through the crowd and I was able tell him and his Marines exactly what the people trying to get out were wearing,” the source said. “It was a very elaborate, kind of dramatic process trying to get them – and then once the Marines had identified them in the crowd, they very quickly snatched them up and [brought] them into the gate.”
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Pentagon reacts to Congressmen visiting Kabul airport
The Pentagon says it was surprised that two members of Congress made an unannounced visit to the airport in Kabul yesterday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he was “not encouraging” more VIP visits.
He told Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin that Rep. Seth Moulton and Rep. Peter Meijer disrupted “what we were planning to do that day.”
Kirby said he wished both lawmakers, a Democrat and Republican, both combat veterans, had spoken to the defense secretary before making the trip.
Americans escaping from Afghanistan
US military launched another helicopter rescue mission outside Kabul’s airport last night
The U.S. military launched another helicopter rescue mission outside the Kabul airport last night to rescue “less than'” 20 Americans, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby just said.
This is the third time American forces have launched helicopters to rescue Americans outside the airport.
More than 400 U.S. troops have departed Kabul ahead of Aug. 31 deadline, US officials say
There were nearly 6,000 U.S. troops on the ground at the Kabul airport at the peak military buildup to help Americans and Afghans evacuate the country after it fell to the Taliban.
Pentagon officials hold a briefing as Afghanistan evacuation deadline approaches
PHOTOS: US troops surge evacuations out of Kabul but threats persist
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Afghans pack sewage-filled canal in hopes of escaping Kabul
Images are emerging of Afghans standing in a canal outside Kabul’s airport as they attempt to flee the country.
The canal is filled with sewage, according to multiple media reports.
Taliban warns women to stay indoors, say their fighters are not trained to respect women
The Taliban is warning employed women in Afghanistan to stay indoors until it trains security forces on “how to deal with women.”
“Our security forces are not trained [in] how to deal with women — how to speak to women [for] some of them,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. “Until we have full security in place… we ask women to stay home.”
He added that the guidance is a “very temporary procedure,” and women will be allowed to return to work once a system is in place to protect their safety.
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With Biden poll numbers plunging, Democrats worry Afghan exit may impact next year’s elections
The distressing images out of Afghanistan appear to be having an instant political impact. Biden’s numbers stand at 41% approval and 55% disapproval in a new USA Today/Suffolk University national poll.
That’s a dramatic drop for a president whose approval rating, until a week and a half ago, had averaged in the low to mid 50s since taking over in the White House in late January.
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Waiting for evacuations
Children wait to be evacuated at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday.
Dutch residents protest arrival of Afghans
Protesters in a village outside of Amsterdam burned tires Tuesday night near a military base that is now housing Afghans who have been evacuated from Kabul, the Associated Press reports.
A police spokesperson told the news agency on Wednesday that there were no arrests following the demonstration in Harskamp.
The military base there reportedly can house 800 evacuees.
Nearly 20,000 evacuated from Kabul over 24-hour stretch, U.S. says
A White House official said Wednesday that around 19,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul over a 24-hour period after boarding 42 U.S. military and 48 coalition flights.
That brings the total number of evacuees on U.S. and coalition flights since Aug. 14 up to 82,300, the official added.
Poland halts Afghanistan evacuation flights over safety concerns
Poland announced Wednesday that it has stopped conducting evacuation flights out of Afghanistan.
“After a long analysis of reports on the security situation we cannot risk the lives of our diplomats and of our soldiers,” Marcin Przydacz, a deputy foreign minister, said following talks with U.S. and British officials, according to the Associated Press.
Poland last evacuated a group from Kabul to Uzbekistan, the AP adds.
Female Afghan journalist fears Taliban will kill her, changes address daily
An Afghan journalist is changing her location every day to hide from the Taliban, who she fears will kill her and anyone hiding her, she told Fox News in an interview.
“I don’t know what will happen to me, because if they find me, they will kill me,” the journalist said.
Fox News is concealing her identity to protect her from the Taliban. She said she was first barred from entering her newsroom, then left home out of fear that the Taliban would begin killing female journalists.
Another female journalist told Fox News a nearly identical story last week.
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More than 50 Afghan evacuees arrive in Uganda
At the request of the United States, 51 Afghan refugees arrived in Uganda on Wednesday.
The men, women and children were flown to the East African country on a chartered flight.
Ugandan officials said last week that the country would shelter up to 2,000 people fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. They said the Afghans would be brought to Uganda in small groups in a temporary arrangement before they are relocated elsewhere.
“The decision to host those in need is informed by the government of Uganda’s consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible role in matters of international concern,” a statement from Ugandan officials said.
Uganda has long been a ally of the U.S., especially on security matters in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mexico accepts its first Afghan refugees
Mexico accepted its first Afghan refugees into the country on Tuesday, including five from an all-girls robotics team. A man was also among the evacuees.
They were welcomed by Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who told the group, “Welcome to your home.” Ebrard said Mexico would grant them “whatever legal status they consider best.” That could include giving them asylum or refugee status.
The robotics team had traveled through six countries to get to Mexico and one of the girls said the country had saved their lives. The Taliban has been hostile to women and girls working or going to school in the past.
The team has received threats from the Taliban.
Ingraham: ‘Joe’s secret Taliban deal’ must be investigated
In her “Ingraham Angle” monologue on Tuesday, host Laura Ingraham called on Congress to fully investigate what she called “Joe’s Taliban deal” – after CIA Director William Burns traveled to Kabul to negotiate directly with Taliban leadership amid an intensifying geopolitical and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Ingraham said President Biden’s behavior and decisions have been suspect in this regard ever since his unusual photograph sitting alone at Camp David’s version of the situation room while on a teleconference.
“What was going on that none of Biden’s top Cabinet officials were with him at this pivotal time? Just extended alone time with Jill? Very odd,” she said, adding that Burns’ sudden diplomatic junket isn’t surprising, but still deserves further scrutiny.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips Biden after spending bill first speech: ‘He’s ‘Building the Taliban Back Bett
Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw criticized President Biden after he heavily touted his multi-trillion-dollar spending package and economic policy platform in remarks Tuesday before addressing the escalating crisis in Afghanistan.
With Biden repeating his “Build Back Better” mantra in relation to the partisan “human infrastructure” bill, Crenshaw told “Fox News Primetime” all the president is doing is “building the Taliban back better.”
“Every time you think of something you shouldn’t do that’s exactly what he does. He is building the Taliban back much better,” he said. “That’s exactly what he has done. He is not building America back better.”
Army veteran aiming to evacuate trapped Afghan medical workers from clinic she helped open
As thousands of people continue attempts to flee Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover and tightening grip on the country, a U.S. Army veteran is desperately trying to help 100 Afghans currently in hiding who worked at a medical clinic she helped open as evacuations have accelerated in recent days.
Anna Talerico, 53, a physician’s assistant and retired military officer, served in Afghanistan in 2009. She returned to the country a few years later to help open American Medical Center – which provided medical services to Americans, Afghans and foreign nationals in Kabul, the capital. In addition, the facility provided physicals for special immigrant visa applicants.
NBC reporter blasts ‘humiliating’ Afghan crisis
NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel tore into the Biden administration’s handling of the turbulent Afghanistan withdrawal.
Appearing on MSNBC, Engel acknowledged that on a “tactical standpoint,” it “makes a lot of sense” for the Biden administration to adhere to the August 31 withdrawal deadline because the Taliban will cease its cooperation with the U.S. and either “overwhelm” the exit processing at the Kabul airport or even amp up violence.
“But if you’d step back and look at what is going on, this is the United States, after 20 years, this war used to be called Operation Enduring Freedom, and it’s turned out not to be enduring and they’re not leaving a society that is free,” Engel said on Tuesday. “It is only free according to what the Taliban says will be free, the Taliban promises that it will be free.”
‘The Five’ blasts Biden’s ‘meaningless’ news conference: ‘Does he internalize what he’s saying?’
President Joe Biden appeared emotionless and stilted delivering remarks during his news conference; prioritizing Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar spending bills before speaking briefly about the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan, the panel on “The Five” said Tuesday.
Host Dana Perino, formerly the press secretary for President George W. Bush, criticized Biden’s delivery, the prioritization of his political policy agenda over the Afghan crisis, and his refusal once again to take questions from the press.
“I screamed a little when he started with ‘Build Back Better’ — I get it, the Democrats passed it in the House with their razor-thin margin $3.5 trillion in spending that will saddle you for the rest of your lives. But other than that…” she began.
US troops in Kabul traumatized, struggling to meet ‘impossible’ Aug 31 deadline: Griffin
Fox News’ national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin unloaded on President Biden, spotlighting the plight of U.S. troops who are scrambling to keep up with the administration’s ever-changing timeline and contradictory messaging surrounding the evacuation of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
“I’m trying to sort through my reaction,” Griffin told “The Five” on Tuesday, moments after Biden announced his decision not to extend the Aug. 31 deadline to accommodate demands by the Taliban. “But,” she said, “the first thing I would say is that what continues to be amazing to me is that every time the president speaks, he sets a deadline that then the military has to scramble to adjust to meet.”
Taliban to block Afghans’ access to Kabul airport
In its second press conference since taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban called on the United States to stop “inviting” Afghans to flee the country and said it would block access to the Kabul airport Tuesday.
“Our people, our engineers, our doctors, professors, and those who have been educated. The country needs their talent, and they should not be taken to foreign countries,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said according to the Wall Street Journal.
Pentagon confirms some U.S. troops have already departed Afghanistan
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed some U.S. troops have already departed Afghanistan.
“As we have made consistently clear, commanders on the ground are empowered to make any adjustments they see fit, when they see fit,” Kirby said in a statement Tuesday. “That includes changes to the footprint. To that end, we can confirm reports of the departure from Afghanistan of several hundred U.S. troops. These troops represent a mix of headquarters staff, maintenance and other enabling functions that were scheduled to leave and whose mission at the airport was complete. Their departure represents prudent and efficient force management. It will have no impact on the mission at hand.”
Kirby also said that the mission in Kabul “remains the same,” noting that forces still on the ground are focused on getting “as many people as we can before the end of the month.”
“The mission remains the same, and as you heard from the President today, it remains on the same timeline,” Kirby said. “We are focused on evacuating as many people as we can before the end of the month. The Secretary and military leaders are drawing up contingency plans should there be a need to reconsider this timeline. No such decision has been made.”
Mike Pompeo: Biden’s weakness puts American lives at risk. We can’t leave anyone behind
The disaster unfolding in Afghanistan has shown in stark terms the incompetence and weakness of the Biden administration. In a matter of days, the Taliban was allowed to take over the entire country.
This feckless, poorly executed withdrawal is already calling into question American leadership from some of our closest allies, such as Germany and the United Kingdom and worse, emboldening our enemies.
Wicker Urges Biden to Use ‘All Means Necessary to Ensure Safe Evacuation of Americans
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden urging him to use every available resource to secure the safe evacuation of American citizens and partners from Afghanistan.
The letter follows reports that the Taliban would not accept an American presence in Kabul beyond August 31 and that Afghan citizens would not be allowed to enter the airport in Kabul where evacuation operations are taking place.
“Like many Americans, I urge you not to allow the Taliban to set the timetable for evacuations. The United States should not answer to terrorists, and it is deeply troubling that the terms of U.S. evacuations are being set by the Taliban,” Wicker wrote in the letter.
Wicker also called on the President to uphold his vow to get Americans and Afghan allies out.
“I implore you to use all means necessary — including military force outside the Kabul airport — to ensure these persons are brought out safely,” Wicker said.
See the full letter to President Biden here.
Psaki reacts to pushback over claim no Americans ‘stranded’ in Afghanistan, despite mom’s plea
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about an American mom said to be stuck in Afghanistan one day after Psaki said it was “irresponsible” to claim that Americans were stranded in the country.
“You said yesterday it is irresponsible to say that Americans are stranded in Afghanistan right now. What do you say to the American citizen in Kabul right now that Fox spoke to this morning… she says ‘we are stranded at home. For four days, three days, we didn’t hear anything from anywhere. And they’re saying to go to the airport but we’re not being given clear guidance. Our emails are getting ignored,'” Doocy said.
Kevin McCarthy: There is ‘no possible way’ we can evacuate Americans from Afghanistan by Aug 31
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a Tuesday news conference that there is “no way” President Biden will be able to evacuate all of the Americans currently trapped in Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline.
“There’s no possible way that we can get every American that’s still in Afghanistan out in the next seven days,” McCarthy said after leaving a classified briefing on the evacuation efforts.
“We are just 3 weeks away from the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” the California Republican continued. “At no time should America … allow the Taliban to tell us when we have to stop bringing Americans out. We should stay until every single American is able to get out of Afghanistan.
Biden says Afghanistan withdrawal deadline depends on Taliban cooperating; US considering backup plans.
Psaki: White House expects eligible Afghans to safely evacuate despite Taliban warning
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration expects Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other Afghans seeking to evacuate the country to safely reach Kabul’s airport, despite the Taliban’s warning that it would no longer allow Afghans to leave.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Psaki said U.S. officials have been in “direct contact” with SIV applicants about how and when to reach Kabul’s airport. When asked if the Taliban’s declaration meant that the applicants attempting to flee were effectively cut off from evacuation efforts, Psaki told reporters that was “not how you should read it.”
“Our expectation and what we will continue to convey directly through a range of channels we have is that the individuals, the Special Immigrant Visa applicants, those who are eligible, those who we are facilitating their departure, will be able to reach the airport,” Psaki said.
White House leaves door open to potentially extending Afghanistan withdrawal deadline
The White House has not completely shut the door on leaving U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline.
“During a meeting this morning with the G7 leaders, the President conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday.
Pentagon provides update on the Status of Americans evacuated from Afghanistan
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that about 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far.
“As of today, August 24, we have evacuated approximately 4,000 American passport holders plus their families. We expect that number to continue to grow in the coming days,” Kirby said.
U.S. military has started withdrawing from Afghanistan: U.S. officials
The breaking news comes shortly after President Biden decided not to extend his deadline of Aug. 31 to withdraw.
“Things have departed,” an official said about the beginning of the withdrawal. “We can still defend the airport,” the official said.
There are fewer American troops at the airport in Kabul today than there were yesterday.
It was notable at the top of the Pentagon new conference that the number of U.S. troops on the ground was not mentioned. For days, the number of American troops flooding into Kabul airport was part of the daily release of information.
“We are still able to get Americans out who want to evacuate,” one official said.
Afghanistan withdrawal: McCaul says Biden will have ‘blood on his hands’
House Republicans on Tuesday blasted President Biden’s decision to stick to the Aug. 31 withdrawal date from Afghanistan and predicted bloodshed during the ongoing rushed evacuation from Kabul.
Following a closed-door briefing on Afghanistan at the Capitol, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and fellow Republicans emerged Tuesday afternoon blasting the Biden adminstration’s position of withdrawing by the end of the month despite the Taliban takeover of the country and Americans and Afghan allies still seeking to leave.
“I can tell you there’s no way we can humanly get all of our American citizens and Afghan partners out of the country by that time,” Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said Tuesday at a news conference with McCarthy and GOP members of Congress who are veterans.
Biden to speak about Afghanistan
President Biden is set to address the nation on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.
Click here to watch.
Critics slam Biden for not extending Afghanistan troop withdrawal deadline
Critics slammed President Biden and said he will “have blood on his hands” after it was announced the U.S. will not extend the Aug. 31 deadline of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“I can tell you there’s no way we can humanly get all of our American citizens and Afghan partners out of country by that time. I’ve called this consistently an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. It will be a stain on this presidency, and particularly of the decision made today, and what we heard today. He will have blood on his hands, people are gonna die,” Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
A U.S. official told Fox News’s Lucas Tomlinson on Tuesday that Biden decided against extending the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.
The announcement came after Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns met in Kabul, and a Taliban spokesman said there will be “no extensions” to the deadline.
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Biden administration doubles down on Psaki’s claim that Americans are not stranded in Afghanistan
The Biden administration is doubling down on press secretary Jen Psaki’s claim that Americans are not stranded in Afghanistan amid the botched troop withdrawal that saw the Taliban take the country.
An administration official stood by Psaki’s claim on Tuesday, telling Fox News in an email that the White House is working to bring home Americans who want to leave the country.
“As the president and his team have made clear, the circumstances in Afghanistan are heartbreaking and we are bringing the Americans who want to come home, home,” the official said.
Click here to read more.
House Minority Leader McCarthy, GOP Afghanistan veterans hold press conference
Biden won’t extend Aug. 31 deadline as Taliban reiterates demand for U.S. forces to leave
President Biden has decided not to extend an Aug. 31 deadline to remove all American troops from Afghanistan, a U.S. official tells Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
The development comes shortly after a Taliban spokesperson – following a meeting between leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns in Kabul — said there will be “no extensions” to the Biden administration’s Aug. 31 date.
Defense Dept. Press Secretary John Kirby said Tuesday that the White House is still “aiming toward the end of the month” for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
The Pentagon also said the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will go to “zero” at the Aug. 31 deadline.
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Kirby: “No change” to Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline
Defense Dept. Press Secretary John Kirby says there has been “no change” to the Biden administration’s timeline of getting all American forces out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
“We continue to make progress every day in getting Americans – as well as Special Immigrant Visa applicants and vulnerable Afghans — out,” he added. “We remain committed to getting any and all Americans that want to leave, to get them out,” Kirby continued.
“We still believe – certainly now that we have been able to increase the capacity and the flow — we believe that we have the ability to get that done by the end of the month.”
Department of Defense hold briefing on Afghanistan
The Department of Defense is expected to provide an update on the situation in Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Click here to watch.
Gold Star families weigh ‘heartbreaking,’ ‘devastating’ consequences of Afghanistan crisis
Images of the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan are hitting home for family members who have lost loved ones in the global war on terror.
“I’m sad for what’s happening. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I certainly feel that we could have done this in a different way,” Ryan Manion told Fox News.
Manion’s brother, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq in 2007. “I remain hopeful that we honor the commitment to bring our Afghan allies back,” Manion said. “But it’s sad. I mean, you can’t help but look at what’s happening on TV and be devastated.”
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Taliban: ‘No extensions’ to Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday that his group will accept “no extensions” of the Aug. 31 deadline the Biden administration has imposed for the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan, the Associated Press reports.
Mujahid also claimed he is “not aware” of any meeting between CIA Director William Burns and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, but did not deny that such a meeting took place, the AP adds.
British MP to Biden on Afghanistan: ‘What are you going to do next?’
A member of the U.K. Parliament is questioning how President Biden will reassure the world that the U.S. will honor its international commitments to allies after withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and said he should be concerned how its adversaries are now viewing America.
“The only question to ask him now is what are you going to do next?” Conservative Party MP Tom Tugendhat said during an exclusive interview with Fox News. “What are you going to do to ensure that the alliance is understood to be what it is, which is one based on trust, based on values, and based on the belief that we all know that we’re in this together?”
“There are many people around the world who are currently looking at us, looking at the U.K., looking at NATO, looking at the U.S., of course, and wondering what a commitment means if you’ve spent $2 trillion, if you’ve lost, in your case, nearly two and a half thousand U.S. soldiers … and you still pull out overnight,” Tugendhat, who served a decade in the British Army, told Fox News. “What does that leave as a legacy for others?”
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House Intelligence Committee members not told of Burns meeting with Taliban leader
Fox News’ Chad Pergram is told the covert meeting in Kabul between CIA Director William Burns and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was not a part of last night’s House Intelligence Committee briefing on Afghanistan.
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WHO says health supplies are rapidly dwindling in Afghanistan
The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it now only has enough supplies in Afghanistan “to last for one week” as medical equipment deliveries there remain hampered because of the situation at Kabul’s airport.
Officials from WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean office say coronavirus testing in Afghanistan has plummeted 77% in the last week along with a decreased rate of vaccinations, Reuters reports.
“We rapidly distributed lifesaving supplies to health facilities and partners in Kabul, Kandahar and Kunduz but WHO now only has enough supplies in country to last for one week. Yesterday 70% of these supplies were released to health facilities,” WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari was quoted as saying.
WHO officials also said 95% of health facilities in Afghanistan remain open but some female staff have yet to return to their positions in the wake of the Taliban takeover, according to Reuters.
American mom trapped in Afghanistan: ‘We are in danger Mr. President, please help us’
An American mother, who is being called Fatima to hide her true identity, tells ‘Fox & Friends First’ that she is afraid for her life and has given up hope.
“We are stranded at home. We can’t get to the airport,” she said. “When we try to get to the airport, we either get beaten up or we are afraid of our lives.”
China: ‘Imposing sanctions’ on Taliban won’t help
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Tuesday that the international community should steer away from imposing sanctions on the Taliban.
“The international community should encourage and promote the development of the situation in Afghanistan in a positive direction, support peaceful reconstruction, improve the well-being of the people and enhance its capacity for independent development,” Wang Wenbin said, according to the Associated Press.
“Imposing sanctions and pressure at every turn cannot solve the problem and will only be counterproductive,” he added.
The AP reports that Beijing has been trying to maintain friendly relations with the militant group and has kept its embassy in Kabul open amidst the chaos.
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CIA director meets with Taliban leader
A senior U.S. official confirms to Fox News that CIA Director William Burns met with Taliban leader and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday.
First reported by the Washington Post, the rendezvous was the highest-level in-person meeting between the Biden administration and the Taliban since the group took control of Afghanistan’s capital earlier this month.
The meeting comes as European allies reportedly are applying pressure on the Biden administration to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan despite warnings from the Taliban against crossing a “red line.”
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Update on evacuation numbers
A White House official said Tuesday that 21,600 people have been evacuated from Kabul in the last 24 hours onboard 37 U.S. military and 57 coalition flights.
That brings the total number of evacuees since Aug. 14 to around 58,700 people, the official added.
Afghanistan withdrawal deadline unlikely to be extended, UK says
Ben Wallace, the British defense minister, said in an interview Tuesday that he does not believe that the Aug. 31 evacuation deadline in Afghanistan will be extended.
Wallace told Sky News—prior to the G7 meeting on the issue– that as “we get closer it’s correct to say the security risk goes up, it gets more and more dangerous. Add-on groups and other terrorist groups like ISIS would like to be seen taking credit, would like to be seen chasing the West out of Afghanistan.”
Wallace said he formed his opinion by comments from the Biden administration.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters on Monday that he believes the U.S. could accomplish the mission before the deadline.
“We believe that we have time between now and the 31st to get out any American who wants to get out,” Sullivan said.
Taliban officials told Reuters that they are unwilling to extend the deadline and the “occupation” by U.S. forces. The group warned about “consequences” if the deadline is extended and called the move a “red line.”
Biden faces pressure from allies on Afghanistan deadline prior to G7 meeting
European allies are applying pressure on the Biden administration to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan despite warnings from the Taliban against crossing a “red line,” according to a report.
G7 leaders are scheduled to meet on Tuesday via video conference to discuss the ongoing challenges in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
France, the UK and Germany have all mentioned extending the deadline in order to carry out an orderly exit, the BBC reported.
“We are concerned about the deadline set by the United States on August 31,” Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, told the network. “Additional time is needed to complete ongoing operations.”
White House is a source of ‘misinformation’ when it comes to the facts on the ground: LOGAN
Fox News Investigative journalist and “No Agenda” host Lara Logan said Monday that President Joe Biden and his administration is getting the outcome he desires in Afghanistan because the United States military has the capability to summarily rectify the intensifying problems with the evacuation effort.
Logan told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” both Biden and the Taliban are sources of “misinformation and propaganda” about the facts on the ground and exactly how to solve the crisis.
“The most important thing that I think Americans should understand is that both this country’s enemies and the Biden administration want you to accept that there is nothing that can be done, that this outcome that you see where the United States a world superpower is humiliated, defeated, and shamed on the world stage that it … bows at the feet of terrorists, that we have to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government of Afghanistan,” she said, “that they haven’t fought an aren’t fighting right now.”
Biden admin arguing semantics while Americans are ‘at the whim of the people who facilitated 9/11
President Biden has left Americans in Afghanistan beholden to the masterminds of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks while his spokeswoman is arguing semantics about terminology, “Fox & Friends” host Pete Hegseth said on Monday.
Hegseth and “Fox News Primetime” host Jesse Watters noted White House press secretary Jen Psaki debated Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy’s use of the word “stranded” to describe Americans unable to escape Afghanistan due to Taliban checkpoints.
Psaki claimed “stranded” is an “irresponsible” term, and that Biden is “committed to bringing Americans who want to come home home.”
Schiff says Kabul airport a ‘very attractive target’ for ISIS-K, Al Qaeda
Rep. Adam Schiff said that Kabul’s airport could be a target of terrorist attacks from ISIS-Khorasan and Al Qaeda as U.S. and allied troops on the ground there attempt to evacuate thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan.
“I think the threat to the airport is very real, very substantial… this would make a very attractive target for ISIS-K,” Schiff told Fox News after attending a classified Afghanistan briefing Monday.
NBC cuts away as Biden began taking questions from reporters on Afghanistan following Sunday address
NBC took a strange moment on Sunday to cut away from President Biden, who addressed the nation about the ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as Tropical Storm Henri.
While ABC and CBS continued with regularly scheduled programming, NBC News immediately interrupted the Peacock network with a “special report” as Biden took to the podium at the White House.
Moments after he concluded his remarks, the president began to take questions from his pre-approved list of reporters, starting with Associated Press correspondent Darlene Superville.
Biden’s White House more concerned with ‘messaging’ than rescuing Americans in Afghanistan: Watters
“The Five” co-host Jesse Watters chastised the White House on Monday for the muddled messaging surrounding President Biden’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, as U.S. citizens and allies remain trapped in the troubled Central Asian country.
Watters comments came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted during a press briefing that Americans “are not” stranded in Kabul and that the White House is “committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.”
“Stranded means if you want to leave somewhere and you can’t,” Watters fired back. “Do you think Americans can just go to the Kabul airport and take up on the next flight? They can’t, they are stranded and I don’t know why she is arguing about the word.”
PHOTOS: Marine Corps help rescue Afghan families in Kabul
State Dept. denies relying on Taliban pledge to allow safe passage for evacuees
State Department spokesman Ned Price denied that the Biden administration was relying on the Taliban’s pledge to allow safe passage for Afghan allies and others seeking to leave the country, asserting that U.S. officials have “significant sources of leverage” should the group renege on its commitment.
The extent of the Biden administration’s trust in the Taliban’s pledge was a point of contention in the department’s regular press briefing on Monday. When asked about U.S. efforts to reassure vulnerable Afghans fearing retaliation from the Taliban, Price initially noted that the Taliban had “agreed and committed to provide and to permit safe passage” to Americans as well as “third-country nationals and to Afghans.”
White House says nearly 11,000 have been evacuated evacuated from Kabul in 12 hours
The White House announced that nearly 11,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul in a 12 hour period, including over 6,000 that were evacuated on U.S. military flights.
“From August 23 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, a total of approximately 10,900 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 15 U.S. military flights (all C-17s), which carried approximately 6,660 evacuees, and 34 coalition flights, which carried 4,300 people,” a White House official said.
Military veterans demand Biden meeting over ‘commitments’ to evacuate Afghan allies
A coalition of military veteran organizations requested a meeting with President Biden on Monday to discuss his administration’s efforts to safely evacuate Afghan allies who face potential reprisals from the Taliban following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Led by Iraq war veteran and High Ground Veterans Advocacy founder Kristofer Goldsmith, the coalition’s members said they “remain concerned about the fates of our wartime partners.” The veterans’ groups asked the Biden administration about its efforts to “meet commitments” to allies stranded in Kabul.
“Failing to meet our obligations to these Afghans would not only be a national security risk – harming America’s reputation abroad and eroding the trust in our armed forces that is critical for future operations – it would also condemn veterans and survivors of the conflict in Afghanistan to a lifetime of moral injury,” the groups said in the letter.
Outrage as Biden again takes no questions on Afghanistan: ‘Walkaway Joe’
President Joe Biden took flak again Monday for taking no questions about Afghanistan as the crisis in the war-torn country continues.
The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan In the aftermath of the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and Americans and Afghan allies stranded there are desperately trying to leave. Many questions remain unanswered, yet on Monday, after giving a brief update on the White House’s effort against the coronavirus, Biden again walked away as the press shouted out inquiries about Afghanistan.
As a reporter asked him, “How many Americans are left in Afghanistan, Mr. President?” Biden walked away from the podium.
Top Biden aide questioned on whether president understands ‘full picture’ on Afghanistan
National security adviser Jake Sullivan was questioned during a press briefing Monday on whether President Biden understands the “full picture” about the potential terrorism threat coming out of Afghanistan now that the Taliban have taken over the country.
Biden, who has repeatedly defended his pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, claimed from the White House Friday that al Qaeda was “gone” from the country, adding, “We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as getting Usama bin Laden, and we did.”
Psaki: ‘Irresponsible’ to say Americans are stranded in Afghanistan
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki bristled at a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy regarding whether President Biden was aware of criticism that his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal left some Americans stranded overseas.
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” Psaki said. “We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.”
Doocy also pressed Psaki on reports of Taliban militants using U.S. military equipment.
“When the president made this decision to bring our men and women home from Afghanistan who are serving, he made that decision not lightly,” Psaki said in response. “He made that decision with a clear assessment from his national security team of what the impacts could be.”
Psaki said President Biden opted to equip Afghan security forces with “they materials they needed to fight.” She added his administration has “taken steps” to prevent U.S. arms from falling into Taliban hands.
Veterans blame Biden for turmoil in Afghanistan, say troops were ‘betrayed politically’
Veterans described the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover as “gut-wrenching,” “predictable,” and “heartbreaking,” blaming Joe Biden’s failed leadership for the debacle.
Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, said it was “heartbreaking” to see the Taliban setting the conditions in Afghanistan.
“No, I’m sorry, the American president and the secretary of defense set the conditions,” he said. “But it seems just the opposite of that…it’s heartbreaking after 20 years in Afghanistan to see the blood, sweat and tears that have been spent there now evaporating into this debacle.”
Retired general slams Biden’s ‘wishful thinking’ and ‘poor strategy’ in Afghanistan
Retired Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan, called the Biden administration’s troop withdrawal on “Fox & Friends” Monday a “mistake” that is putting American lives in danger.
“This is wrong. I wasn’t bashful in 2013 and 2014 when I told the administration their change of strategy from combat operations to non-combat operations was a strategic and policy mistake, big time. And I’m not afraid to tell them now that it is another mistake and it’s wishful thinking on their part,” Bolduc said. “It’s poor strategy. It puts American lives in danger. It sends a terrible geopolitical message across the world, to America, what we stand for and what we will do, how we will support our allies and how we will fight against our enemies, both foreign and domestic. This is wrong.”
Pentagon may ask Biden to stay in Afghanistan past Aug. 31
The Pentagon said in a Monday briefing that it will consider leaving American troops in Afghanistan past August 31, in consultation with President Biden and allies, but dismissed the idea of the U.S. military taking back Bagram Airfield to speed up evacuations.
The comments from Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby came as the crisis in Afghanistan continues one week after the Taliban toppled the country’s U.S.-backed government.
The U.S. military, according to the Pentagon, has sped up evacuations from the Kabul airport, removing nearly 11,000 people in the past 24 hours — although the Pentagon won’t say how many Americans it’s evacuated.
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Kamala Harris breaks silence on Afghanistan debacle
Vice President Kamala Harris at last spoke publicly on what is happening in Afghanistan as Americans and Afghans try to exit the country due to the Taliban’s swift takeover, but she refused to weigh in on the U.S. government’s decision-making that led to the current situation.
During an appearance alongside Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, both leaders were asked about the U.S. withdrawal and evacuation process, with Harris being asked what she thinks went wrong.
“So, I understand and appreciate why you asked the question. And I think there’s going to be plenty of time to analyze what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” the vice president said. “But right now, we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children.”
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Afghan refugees arrive across the US for State Department resettlement
With thousands of Afghan refugees expected to arrive to the U.S., the State Department must facilitate their resettlement across the country as some critics raise concerns over homeland security and the swift vetting process.
An undisclosed number of Afghan refugees arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport on Saturday, and were transported to Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus.
Its Ernst Center was to be used to house at least 200 refugees, and the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management gathered 500 cots, as well as food, water and other supplies.
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U.S. Central Command: No American or coalition forces hurt during Kabul airport gunfire
A CENTCOM spokesperson said Monday that no U.S. or coalition forces were hurt during the “brief exchange of gunfire” that happened near a gate last night at Kabul’s airport.
“The incident appeared to begin when an unknown hostile actor fired upon Afghan security forces involved in monitoring access to the gate,” Navy Capt. William Urban said. “The Afghans returned fire, and in keeping with their right of self-defense, so too did U.S. and coalition troops.”
Urban added that “one member of the Afghan forces was killed by the hostile actor” and “several Afghans were wounded during the exchange,” while “the wounded are being treated at an airfield hospital and are reported to be in stable condition.”
“Our condolences go out to the teammates and loved ones of the fallen Afghan soldier,” he also said.
Afghanistan refugees to be housed at New Jersey base
U.S. Department of Defense to provide update
The U.S. Department of Defense is holding a briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET on the situation in Afghanistan.
Click here to watch.
Kabul airport uncertainty is impacting delivery of medical and food aid, WHO says
More than 500 tons of medical supplies and severe malnutrition kits intended to be delivered to Afghanistan have yet to arrive as Kabul’s airport remains closed to commercial flights, the World Health Organization tells Reuters.
WHO Regional Emergency Director Richard Brennan is now calling on military planes to divert to the organization’s facilities in Dubai to pick up the supplies before heading to Kabul for evacuations, according to Reuters.
“While the eyes of the world now are on the people being evacuated and the planes leaving, we need to get supplies in to help those who are left behind,” Brennan said.
Around 300,000 people in Afghanistan are in need of the medical and food aid after being displaced during the Taliban’s takeover of the country, Reuters reports.
China criticizes U.S. over Afghanistan situation
China is accusing the U.S. on Monday of being “the root cause and biggest external factor in the Afghan issue.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was quoted by the Associated Press as making the remark, adding that “it cannot just run away like this.”
“I hope the U.S. side can match its acts with words, take on its responsibilities in Afghanistan and put into practice its commitments to Afghanistan in terms of development and reconstruction, and humanitarian assistance,” he also said.
Update on American evacuation efforts
More than two dozen U.S. military flights over the last 24 hours have evacuated around 10,400 people from Kabul, a White House official says.
That brings the total number of U.S. evacuations since Aug. 14 to around 37,000 people, the official added.
Taliban will not accept extension of Aug. 31 deadline for Western forces to leave
Taliban sources said the group is not willing to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for Western troops to exit the country just hours after President Biden said the U.S. could extend the deadline, according to a report.
The two Taliban sources told Reuters that the group has not been approached by any country to extend the deadline.
Biden said on Sunday that the deadline could be extended. “Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process,” the president said on Sunday, according to the New York Times.
Deadly shooting at Kabul airport’s north gate, German military says
Afghan security forces stationed at the Kabul international airport on Monday engaged in a firefight with “unknown attackers” that resulted in the death of one Afghan officer, the German military said on Twitter.
The reported shooting underscored the dangers international troops and fleeing Afghans continue to face in the city now controlled by the Taliban.
The German military said in a tweet that one Afghan security officer was killed and another three were wounded in the early morning incident. The Associated Press, citing the Germans, said that U.S. and German forces also got involved, and that there were no injuries to German soldiers.
The U.S. Defense Department did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News. A U.K. official told Reuters that he was aware of the reports but his troops were not involved.
Biden admin quickly processes migrants at border but can’t do the same with trapped Afghan allies
The Biden administration has moved to quickly process migrants streaming across the southern border but has not been able to speed up the processing times for Afghan interpreters and other allies who assisted in America’s 20-year war effort.
The White House announced last month that it will speed up asylum claim processing for migrants at the southern border, claiming in a release that they are seeking to “fair, orderly and humane” immigration system after the Trump administration policies “unjustly prevent individuals from obtaining asylum.”
Biden should ‘step down in shame’ for leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan: Lisa Boothe
Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe called for President Biden’s resignation during a fiery appearance on “The Big Sunday Show” where she accused his administration of endangering American lives abroad during the evacuation of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“We do not know how many Americans are left in Afghanistan and if we don’t know, how do we know we’ve gotten them all out? “Boothe asked. “How do we know when [the] mission is complete if we don’t know how many Americans are in Afghanistan?”
Biden turns back on reporter asking about ISIS threat to U.S. troops at airport
President Biden ignored a question from a reporter asking about the threat ISIS poses to U.S. troops working to keep the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan secure.
“Mr. President, what about ISIS and the threats that Americans face now,” Fox News Radio’s Rachel Sutherland can be heard shouting as Biden turned his back and left the room following his address to reporters Sunday.
Biden acknowledged the threat ISIS poses to U.S. troops earlier in the address, noting that the terror group and the Taliban are enemies.
The exchange comes after it was reported Saturday that ISIS-K, a branch of the terror group that first emerged in Syria and Iraq, posed a danger to Americans trying to make their way to the airport.
“Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the embassy warned on Saturday.
CBS reporter instructs WH staff to show Biden the poll about his job approval falling
CBS reporter Bo Erickson called on the Biden administration to inform President Joe Biden on his now falling job approval numbers.
“A new poll out today shows Americans wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, but they disapprove of the way you’ve handled it,” O’keefe said. “The majority of Americans – forgive me, I’m just the messenger – no longer consider you to be competent, focused, or effective at the job. What would you say to those Americans?”
NPR host doesn’t blame Biden for Afghanistan chaos, suggests blame lands with those under him
NPR host Michel Martin diverted blame away from President Biden for the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan and suggested that white nationalist groups should be a top concern for the president.
During ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, host Martha Raddatz criticized the Biden administration for short-sighted planning in regards to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan which has resulted in the Taliban taking over much of the country.
“We may not have known how fast it would happen, but I can’t, it’s hard for me to believe they didn’t have some expectation this would happen since they knew we were pulling out,” Raddatz said.
Rep. Michael McCaul says US has no intel in nation, gives victory to Taliban
Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News the U.S. has no intelligence in Kabul outside the airport, marking a victory for the Taliban, Russia, China and Iran.
“The Taliban, their stripes just got bigger,” McCaul told Fox News in an interview.
“We have no intelligence on the ground now,” he continued. “We are completely dark. With the exception of the airport we will be dark.”
Commander said Iranian drone could have posed threat to U.S. forces on ground in Syria
U.S. Central command spokesperson CAPT William Urban said that a “probable Iranian-made drone” was close to posing a threat to U.S. forces on the ground in Syria when it was shot down by the U.S. Air Force.
“On the morning of August 21, a probable Iranian-made drone took off from Dayr Az Zawr airfield, entered the airspace above the Eastern Syria Security Area, and approached within two kilometers of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria before it was shot down by a U.S. Air Force F-15E. The F-15E was providing aircover for U.S. troops operating with partners in Syria including the Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. The successful missile shot prevented the UAV from posing a threat to U.S. service members. U.S. Forces will continue to defend our service members wherever they are threatened,” Urban said in a statement.
The threat came days after President Biden claimed in an interview that no U.S. troops deployed to Syria.
The U.S. has around 900 troops currently deployed to Syria.
Schumer, Pelosi panned for dancing with Stephen and fundraiser with Biden’s presidency under siege
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are facing backlash on Twitter after videos showed them yucking it up over the weekend while Afghanistan, and President Biden’s legacy, are under siege.
Schumer, D-N.Y., was spotted dancing backstage with late-night comedian Stephen Colbert during the “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” in Central Park, which was cut short Saturday night due to inclement weather. A video of the dancing, tweeted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt, racked up more than three million views.
Biden, who promised empathy in 2020, blasted for abandoning Americans overseas
President Biden campaigned on empathy, but he’s now being blasted for his “meanness” for leaving Americans and Afghanis to the mercy of the Taliban.
“Empathy matters. Compassion matters. We have to reach out to one another and heal this country — and that’s what I’ll do as president,” Biden promised in February 2020. His campaign to “restore the soul of America” and to “heal this country” leaned heavily on his personal story of loss – the loss of his wife in a car accident and the loss of his eldest son, Beau Biden.
Biden claimed that Trump never said “anything that approaches a sincere expression of empathy for the people who are hurting,” while Democrat after Democrat mentioned empathy while endorsing Biden.
Sen. Cotton calls Biden Afghanistan withdrawal ‘disastrous’
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, called President Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal from the country “disastrous” and stressed that the president “needs to commit to getting out every American” from behind Taliban lines.
Cotton made the comments during an exclusive interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” where he stressed that the “chaos” in Afghanistan is “tragic” and “heartbreaking” for “so many veterans who served in Afghanistan and their Gold Star families.
FOX News Media successfully evacuates three Afghan nationals from Kabul
FOX News Media successfully evacuated three Afghan nationals, as well as an Afghan colleague from a regional media company, and their respective families who formerly served as freelance associates, from Kabul on Sunday.
“We are extremely proud to have assisted in this critical mission bringing them to safety in Doha where the Qataris have been aiding in several evacuations, and are grateful to Fox Corp for all of their assistance,” Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement.
Biden urges Taliban to provide for ‘well being’ of Afghans
President Biden promised that the United States would welcome Afghan allies escaping the Taliban into the U.S., but only after they have been “screened and cleared” at military bases and transit centers
Biden said that the U.S. has set up processing stations in third countries, “working with more than two dozen countries across four continents.” When planes take off from Kabul, they go to U.S. military bases and these processing stations.
Pompeo says American leadership has ‘walked off the stage’
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in just months under President Biden, “American leadership has already walked off the stage” as the world watches the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, and suggested several ways the U.S. can regain credibility among its allies
Pompeo told “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo that the Biden administration appears to have returned to Obama-era leadership, leaving U.S. adversaries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un to watch “America destroy its alliances.”
Bush press secretary: Biden ‘all around clueless’ on Afghanistan
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer blasted President Biden’s Friday press conference on the debacle in Afghanistan, saying the president has put Americans “just one stray bullet away from a bloodbath in Kabul.”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a politician, particularly at a perilous moment like this, be so in denial, out of touch, out to lunch and all around clueless,” Fleischer, who served in the George W. Bush administration, told host Rita Cosby on WABC Radio Friday.
“Joe Biden’s judgment on so many issues, for so many decades, has been so wrong, and we’re seeing it play out right now,” Fleischer said.
Local U.S. Embassy Kabul staff is losing faith in evacuation efforts
U.S. Embassy staff in Kabul have started to lose faith in the American evacuation effort, according to a cable obtained by NBC news.
“It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again, one Afghan trying to flee the country said.
The embassy staff are reportedly “deeply disheartened” by the ongoing effort, while Afghans that assisted the war effort are feeling “a sense of betrayal and distrust in the American government.”
““Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another Afghan said.
Air Force shoots down Iranian drone over Syria flying ‘too close’ to American troops
A U.S. Air Force fighter shot down an Iranian drone over eastern Syria on Saturday after the drone flew “too close,” to American troops deployed there, two U.S. officials tell Fox News.
The Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle was flying a routine patrol over Syria where some 900 U.S. troops are based.
President Biden recently said in an ABC interview there were no U.S. troops deployed to Syria.
Some White House talking points before one of the president’s recent speeches made the same false claim.
Pompeo says American leadership has ‘walked off the stage,’ suggests how to regain credibility with
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in just months under President Biden, “American leadership has already walked off the stage” as the world watches the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, and suggested several ways the U.S. can regain credibility among its allies.
“It looks like we’re back to Barack Obama, America apologizing, American weakness, and our adversaries not fearing us and our friends not trusting us,” the former secretary of state said.
Rep. Mike Gallagher: It doesn’t matter how many ‘fancy degrees’ Biden admin has, Afghanistan is a di
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., told “Fox News Live” it’s time for members of the Biden administration to be held accountable following the “damning failure” in Afghanistan, adding that he hopes the president levels with the American people in his speech on Sunday.
Top Biden aide Jake Sullivan says they still don’t know how many Americans are in Afghanistan
President Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday admitted that the administration still does not know how many Americans are in Afghanistan.
CNN “State of the Union” host Brianna Keilar asked Sullivan if he could tell her how many Americans and legal permanent residents are still waiting to be evacuated in Afghanistan.
“We cannot give you a precise number,” Sullivan said. “We believe it is several thousand Americans who we are working with now to try to get safely out of the country.”
Blinken admits al Qaeda not ‘gone’ from Afghanistan despite Biden’s claim
President Biden on Friday claimed that Al Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan, but in a “Fox News Sunday” interview Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted that this is not true.
Host Chris Wallace pressed the issue, asking him again if Al Qaeda was gone from Afghanistan. Blinken responded by saying that Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out another 9/11-style attack was “vastly, vastly diminished.”
“Are there Al Qaeda members and remnants in Afghanistan? Yes,” he said. “But what the president was referring to was its capacity to do what it did on 9/11 and that capacity has been very successfully diminished.”
Massive veterans group uses intel, satellite images to direct Afghan interpreters around Taliban che
A network of “hundreds of thousands” of people, including analysts using satellite imagery to locate Taliban checkpoints surrounding the Kabul airport, are coordinating to evacuate Afghan interpreters from the country, an Afghanistan war veteran and member of the coalition told Fox News.
These interpreters, now targeted by the Taliban, were essential U.S. allies during the Afghanistan war and played roles much larger than simply acting as translators, according to Matt Zeller. The Biden administration has faced fierce criticism that the U.S. hasn’t made their evacuation more of a priority.
“These people that we’re talking about … they were our eyes and ears on the battlefield,” Zeller, a former CIA analyst told Fox News. He said they’d hear Taliban communications ordering fighters to shoot the interpreters first.
Tony Blair says Biden’s Afghanistan ‘abandonment’ is ‘tragic, dangerous, unnecessary’
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair derided the U.S. “abandonment” of Afghanistan as “tragic, dangerous, [and] unnecessary” on Saturday.
Blair, who sent British troops into the country alongside the U.S. in 2001 after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, posited that enemies and allies alike will ask if the West has “lost its strategic will” based on the swift takeover by the Taliban in the last week.
“The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics,” he wrote in an essay published on the website of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Afghanistan withdrawal will ’embolden,’ ‘inspire’ terrorists targeting US and Israel, experts warn
The rapid power gain by the Taliban in Afghanistan, as a result of the botched withdrawal of U.S.-led NATO troops, is sparking concerns by experts over the possible proliferation of terrorism in the region that will pose a direct threat to America and its ally Israel.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck told Fox News in an interview that the United States’ “humiliating” withdrawal will inspire terrorist groups and adversaries who now view the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, as weak.
“When American power, credibility and reliability are perceived to be diminished or weakened, the threat to all of our friends, allies and partners increases,” Klinck said.
Pentagon to compel commercial airlines to evacuate Afghans
The Department of Defense will compel commercial airlines to evacuate Afghans, the third time since the Gulf War that the U.S. has activated what is known as the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.
Eighteen aircraft will be used, including 3 from American Airlines, 3 from Delta Air Lines, 3 from Atlas Air, 3 from Omni Air, 2 from Hawaiian Airlines and 4 from United Airlines.
The airlines will be compensated as part of the arrangement.
US airmen help pregnant Afghan mother deliver baby on C-17 evacuation flight
U.S. airmen helped a pregnant Afghan mother deliver her child in the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 during an evacuation flight from the Middle East on Saturday, U.S. officials said.
The flight had already taken off from an Intermediate Staging Base in the Middle East when the mother went into labor and began having complications, the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command said.
The aircraft commander made the quick decision to lower the C-17’s altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft. The move helped stabilize the mother and save her and her baby’s life, according to officials.
After the aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, airmen from the 86th Medical Group came aboard and delivered the child in the C-17’s cargo bay.
The baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and were in good condition, officials said.
U.S. airmen have been setting up Ramstein Air Force Base to house evacuees arriving from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.
Biden to discuss Afghanistan evacuations during Sunday address to nation
President Biden plans to address the nation Sunday afternoon regarding efforts to evacuate American citizens and other people out of Afghanistan, according to reports.
Biden’s speech is expected to be televised at 4 p.m., The Hill reported.
The announcement of the plans for the address came Saturday night, hours after Biden met with his national security advisers regarding the Afghanistan crisis, the report said.
Kabul airport chaos: At least 7 more civilian deaths reported
At least seven civilians were reportedly killed Sunday at the international airport in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, according to reports.
Word of the fatalities came from Britain’s Defense Ministry, which described safety conditions at the airport as “extremely challenging,” according to The Associated Press.
Details about how the deaths came about, and the identities of the victims, were not disclosed.
US considers ordering commercial airlines to help in Afghan evacuation
The Biden administration is planning a dramatic ramp-up of its airlift from Kabul by making preparations to compel major U.S. airlines to help with the transportation of tens of thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan, while expanding the number of U.S. military bases that could house Afghans.
The White House is expected to consider activating the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, created in 1952 in the wake of the post-World War II Berlin Airlift, to provide nearly 20 commercial jets from up to five airlines to augment U.S. military efforts to transport Afghan evacuees from bases in the region, according to U.S. officials.
The civilian planes wouldn’t fly in or out of Kabul, which fell to Taliban rule Aug. 15, officials said. Instead, commercial airline pilots and crews would help to ferry the thousands of Afghans and others who are stranded at U.S. bases in Qatar, Bahrain, and Germany.
President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed the Afghanistan crisis and the Democrats’ “Build Back Better” agenda Saturday night, according to the White House.
“The President updated Speaker Pelosi about increasing progress made evacuating American citizens, our allies, Afghans who aided American military and other efforts, and additional vulnerable Afghans as rapidly as possible,” the White House said in a statement. “The President also reiterated his support for Speaker Pelosi’s work to advance the rule that would provide for the House’s consideration of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Agenda—which would cut prescription drug costs, reduce the cost of housing and education, strengthen care for veterans, take on climate change, and help families afford childcare and care for older Americans.”
Biden calls Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed
President Joe Biden spoke with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Saturday about the United Arab Emirates’ support for the Afghanistan evacuation effort, according to the White House.
“The President and Crown Prince underscored that this collaborative effort reflects the enduring partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates,” officials said. “The two leaders agreed on the priority of working together to address regional and global challenges.”
OPINION: Biden thinks he’s kicked Afghanistan’s ‘endless war’ to the curb. He’s so wrong
“The U.S. no longer has anything close to the elite capacity we once enjoyed to detect and preempt threats in Afghanistan,” writes Daniel Hoffman
Afghan interpreter stuck in Afghanistan: ‘Time is running out, we need help’
EXCLUSIVE: An Afghan interpreter who is stuck in Afghanistan with his family is saying that “time is running out,” as Taliban continue to hunt door to door for people who worked for the U.S. government.
Pentagon spokesman defends remarks that Kabul wasn’t in ‘imminent’ danger of falling to Taliban
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stood by his comments last week that Kabul was not in “imminent” danger even though two days later the Afghan capital collapsed into Taliban control.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson pressed Kirby during a Pentagon news conference Saturday about his statement on Aug. 13 that “Kabul is not right now in an imminent-threat environment.”
Taliban leader arrives in Kabul to discuss new government
The man considered to be the Taliban’s top political leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, has arrived in Kabul.
He’s in the city to consult with the Taliban on the new government, according to Taliban official Zabihullah Mujahid.
Baradar was a peace negotiator in Doha, Qatar, last year and co-founded the Taliban in 1994. He is also eyed as the next leader of Afghanistan.
The Taliban is not expected to make announcements about the new government until after the Aug. 31 deadline of withdrawing U.S. troops from the country.
ISIS prompted US Embassy to issue security threat to Americans headed to Kabul airport
A threat from the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan prompted a security threat from the U.S. embassy in the country that told American citizens to avoid traveling to the airport.
“There are other terrorists groups we are concerned about as well,” one defense official said. The official declined to give details, but the Pentagon has said that “hundreds” of al-Qaeda fighters are in Afghanistan.
The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan warned Saturday: “Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.”
Biden meets with national security team to discuss security situation in Afghanistan
A White House official said President Biden met with his national security team on Saturday morning, and was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris via teleconference on her way to Singapore.
The U.S. officials discussed the security situation in Afghanistan, counterterrorism strategies and the operation to evacuate American citizens and Afghans who have assisted the U.S. government from the country. The evacuation plans include using both U.S. military and charter flights.
Biden and Harris were joined by Secretary Antony Blinken, Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman Mark Milley, Director Avril Haines, Director William Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, General Frank McKenzie, and other senior officials.
Gay men in Afghanistan say life under Taliban ‘nightmare,’ could be killed on the spot
Gay men in Afghanistan are describing the Taliban’s takeover as a “nightmare” and live in fear that they could be executed at any moment.
“We cannot go out because we are just scared for our lives,” a 21-year-old gay man called Ghulam, whose real name was changed for safety purposes, told Insider. “If we get caught, the Taliban will kill us.”
Afghanistan handling by Joe Biden rated by Americans in California
Los Angeles dwellers rated President Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan in a series of interviews with Fox News.
“If I could go lower than F- I would,” John, a Floridian visiting the Golden State, told Fox News.
“Between him, the CIA and their estimate of how long the Afghans would last, or even the military who apparently tried to train these people.””It was just a disaster,” he continued.
2,500 Americans evacuated from Kabul this week, US officials say
The United States evacuated 2,500 Americans from Kabul in the past week, U.S. officials said Saturday during a Pentagon press briefing.
Major General William Taylor said 17,000 people have been evacuated, including 2,500 Americans.
“We’re fighting against both time and space,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added during the press briefing. “That’s the race that we’re in right now. And we’re trying to do this as quickly and safely as possible.”
He said that he did not have a “perfect figure” on the number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan. A State Department spokesperson previously estimated there were between 5,000 and 10,000 American citizens in the country.
Kirby added that the objective for U.S officials is to “get as many people out as we can as fast as we can. And so that’s what the focus is.”
Only six Air Force transport planes were able to leave Kabul Friday
Only six U.S. Air Force transport planes were able to leave Kabul on Friday, Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor said Saturday.
A total of 1,600 people were evacuated from Kabul Friday on six U.S. Air Force C-17 transport planes. Another 32 charter planes were also able to fly out, bringing the total number of those evacuated to approximately 3,800 people.
There was a 6-7 hour pause in operations on Friday due to there being “no room” at the processing facility in Qatar, the Pentagon said.
Approximately 17,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14.
Video footage at the Kabul airport on Saturday show crowds of people desperate to evacuate.
Elite Taliban unit wearing US gear appears to mock iconic American WWII photo
A Taliban fighting unit called the Badri 313 Battalion was spotted patrolling Afghanistan with U.S.-made gear, and posting one photo appearing to mock the iconic World War II photo, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.
Propaganda videos posted this week on channels affiliated with the Taliban show soldiers in the little-known Badri 313 Battalion carrying U.S. and U.S. ally-made weapons and gear that appear to be stolen from allied militaries while patrolling parts of Kabul.
Pentagon press secretary holds press briefing
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby and Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor are holding a press briefing Saturday morning regarding Afghanistan.
Taliban allegedly sets woman on fire for ‘bad cooking’
Taliban fighters allegedly set a woman on fire for “bad cooking,” as other women in Afghanistan go into hiding and reportedly being forced into sex slavery.
“They are forcing people to give them food and cook them food. A woman was put on fire because she was accused of bad cooking for Taliban fighters,” activist and former Afghan judge Najla Ayoubi told Sky News.
U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan warns US citizens to avoid airport in Kabul
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan issued a security warning on Saturday advising U.S. citizens to avoid the airport in Kabul.
“Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so,” the embassy posted Saturday morning.
The warning added that authorities will contact all registered U.S. citizens with further instructions as the situation updates.
Pentagon takes heat for evacuating ‘a couple hundred’ Americans out of 6K total people from Kabul
The Pentagon is taking heat for saying that a “couple hundred American citizens” were boarded onto planes out of Afghanistan, while the flights overall carried nearly 6,000 passengers.
“Why in the world is this administration not making sure every single American gets out first?” Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer tweeted, following a press briefing from Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, vice director for logistics of the Joint Staff.
As of 3:00 a.m. EST on Friday, “16 C-17s and one C-130 departed Kabul. These flights contain nearly 6,000 passengers, including a couple hundred American citizens,” Taylor said Friday.
As Afghanistan evacuations begin, tens of thousands remain behind – in fear of Taliban
As evacuations got underway in Afghanistan, and several countries made plans to accept arrivals, tens of thousands remained behind in the Taliban-controlled country.
They were hoping President Biden would make good on his pledge to help American citizens – and Afghans who assisted them – leave Afghanistan amid fear of possible retribution from the Taliban, the terror organization that took control of the country last week.
At least 13 countries had agreed to accept those fleeing Afghanistan, at least temporarily, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, according to the AP, with 12 other nations agreeing to be transfer points as Americans and Afghans made their way to their final destinations.
About 300 evacuees arrived Friday night at Ramstein Air Base, a U.S. facility in Germany where military personnel had set up cots and made other preparations for them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
UAE agrees to temporarily host 5,000 Afghan evacuees
The United Arab Emirates said Friday it would house 5,000 Afghan evacuees for 10 days, according to reports.
“The evacuees will travel to the UAE from the Afghan capital of Kabul on U.S. aircraft in the coming days,” the UAE’s foreign ministry said in a statement, according to Reuters.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said 13 countries have so far agreed to at least temporarily host at-risk Afghans and another 12 have agreed to serve as transit points for evacuees, including Americans and others, leaving Afghanistan.
Blinken said in a statement that potential Afghan refugees not already cleared for resettlement in the United States will be housed at facilities in Albania, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Rwanda, Ukraine and Uganda.
Transit countries include Bahrain, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, he said.
Bahrain to allow evacuation flights to use country’s transit facilities
Bahrain said Saturday it will allow Afghanistan evacuation flights to “make use of Bahrain’s transit facilities.”
Thousands have been evacuated from the country since the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took power.
Bahrain, in the Persian Gulf off Saudi Arabia, is home to the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.The U.S. faced issues Friday with its facilities at Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar filling up with those fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country.
The kingdom also said it is hoping that “all parties will commit to stabilizing the internal situation and to protecting the lives of civilians and the rule of law.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Taliban websites mysteriously go dark
Five Taliban-linked websites in five languages that the terrorist group used to spread official messages suddenly and mysteriously went dark Friday – days after the group took power in the country.
It wasn’t clear why the websites went down. The Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, English and Dari sites were protected by San Francisco-based Cloudflare, which shields the site host from being revealed to the public. Cloudflare has not commented on the reports.
The down sites may be due to an effort to limit the group’s internet reach, the Washington Post reported, although it could be temporary as the group secures new online hosting arrangements.
Ramstein Air Base in Germany prepares to house Afghanistan evacuees
A U.S. air base in Germany was preparing to house evacuees arriving from Afghanistan, Air Force officials said Friday.
“Ramstein Airmen have been preparing around-the-clock to provide support, such as temporary lodging, as the base receives aircraft carrying evacuees in the coming days,” Ramstein Air Base tweeted.
Service members and volunteers set up cots and sorted through donations of items such as toilet paper, diapers and soccer balls for the impending arrival of evacuees, photos tweeted out by the base showed.
Michael Moore compares Christian conservatives in US to Afghanistan’s ‘religious nuts’
Michael Moore once again got candid about his thoughts on the state of governmental and societal affairs amid the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
The documentary filmmaker and author continued to voice his opinion in an interview with Variety on Thursday, just days after he compared the Taliban to Capitol rioters in a tweet.
In the conversation, Moore argued that Taliban control in Afghanistan greatly sets back years of cultural advancement for women but went further – saying a similar sentiment also applies stateside.
Newt Gingrich: After Afghanistan debacle, Biden ‘can’t possibly protect’ Taiwan
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich seemed bewildered by President Biden’s actions regarding Afghanistan during an appearance Friday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” where the Georgia Republican spoke with guest host Tammy Bruce.
He said, “Taiwan had better realize that Joe Biden can’t possibly protect them” after Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan.
“Or listen to the Europeans. The president today, he either lied to the country or is so totally uninformed that it’s scary. Our NATO allies are enraged. For him to say, ‘Oh, nobody’s really angry at us’?”
Three U.S. Army CH-47 helicopters picked up 169 Americans outside Kabul’s international airport, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters Friday evening.
In impromptu remarks, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the chinook helicopters flew “a few hundred yards” to retrieve the group of Americans who had been told to rendezvous at a building and await extraction.
Biden has only spent 4 of 15 full days in White House since Afghanistan crisis began
President Biden has spent only four full days at the White House since the Afghanistan crisis began in earnest on Aug.6 — as the Taliban swallowed up territory across the country.
US Marine who saved baby at Kabul airport identified
“I can confirm the uniformed service member depicted in the video is a Marine with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit,” Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jim Stenger said in a statement. “The baby seen in the video was taken to a medical treatment facility on site and cared for by medical professionals.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a news briefing Friday that the Taliban “have assured us” they will allow Afghans aiming to leave the country to do so after Aug. 31.
“For what it’s worth, the Taliban, relevant to the ability to people to leave the country going forward, going forward, have assured us that they will allow Afghans who wish to leave the country to do so after August 31,” he said. “They at least profess to agree with us that a functioning secure an operation airport is essential to the well being of the Afghan people in the maintenance of the Afghan economy.”
Jennifer Griffin: Biden’s remarks on Afghan situation ‘couldn’t be fact-checked fast enough’
Fox News chief national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin said President Joe Biden’s remarks on Afghanistan Friday “couldn’t be fact-checked fast enough in real-time,” telling “America Reports” the president, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the rest of the administration were presenting an “alternate reality.”
Defense secretary contradicts Biden on Taliban beatings of Americans
Two House lawmakers on the call with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have told Fox News that Austin said there are reports that Americans have, in fact, been beaten by the Taliban in Kabul – contrary to what President Biden earlier in the day.
There were 14,000 Afghans inside Kabul’s international airport as of Friday evening, awaiting evacuation flights, a source tells Fox News. But Qatar had halted accepting flights and many of them were sitting in idle C-17 military planes on the tarmac.
Other planes were undergoing decontamination amid coronavirus concerns, Fox News is told.
Pentagon contradicts Biden on al Qaeda
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Friday afternoon that the terror group behind the 9/11 attacks still has a “presence” in Afghanistan, hours after President Biden declared al Qaeda was “done.”
“We know that al Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan,” Kirby said in response to a question from Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin. “And we’ve talked about that for quite some time. We do not believe it is exorbitantly high, but we don’t have an exact figure for you, as I think you might understand. And it’s not like they they carry ID cards and register somewhere. We don’t have a perfect picture, and our intelligence gathering ability in Afghanistan isn’t what it used to be, because we aren’t there with the same numbers.”
However he added that “there isn’t a presence that is significant enough to merit a threat to our homeland as there was back on 9/11 20 years ago.”
White House official gives evacuation update.
A senior White House official tells Fox News that U.S. forces have evacuated 5,700 people from Afghanistan in the last 24 hours and 3,000 since Thursday night’s update.
“We evacuated approximately 13,000 people on US military aircraft since Aug. 14, and relocated approximately 18,000 people since the end of July,” the official said. “The U.S. military evacuated 5,700 people in last 24 hours alone. The U.S. military evacuated 3,000 people since last night’s update.”
16 GOP senators urge Biden to use all means necessary to rescue Americans in Afghanistan
Sixteen Republican senators sent a letter to President Biden calling on the president to use all means necessary to rescue Americans and Afghan allies trapped in Afghanistan.
Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., led 15 of his colleagues in a letter to the president Thursday, calling on Biden to take charge as Americans and allies alike are stuck behind Taliban lines.
Biden finally answers questions about Afghanistan from White House reporters after intense pressure
President Biden Friday answered finally questions from the White House press corps for the first time since the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, after twice earlier this week leaving the podium as reporters shouted questions about the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Biden calls Afghanistan evacuations ‘one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history’
President Biden is describing the Afghanistan evacuation efforts Friday as “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history.
“And the only country in the world capable of projecting this much power on the far side of the world with this degree of precision is the United States of America,” he said.
“We have established the flow of flights and we have increased the number of people we are moving out of the country,” he added.
Biden also said “any American that wants to come home, we will get you home.”
President Biden to speak about Afghanistan at 1 p.m. ET
Former interpreter in Afghanistan: ‘I wish I didn’t work with the United States’
A former interpreter now holed up in a friend’s house in Afghanistan and hiding from the Taliban tells Fox News Friday that “I wish I didn’t work with the United States.”
That interpreter, who asked to be referred to only as “Manar” for fear of his safety, did work with the U.S. for almost 11 years. Now he says Taliban soldiers are scouring his neighborhood trying to hunt him down.
“Two or three times the Taliban came and asked [for] me by my door,” he said. “I am sure that if they captured me, they will kill me.”
Manar also tells Fox News that he, his wife and five children – who are also in hiding with him – plan to make the 8-hour drive from Mazar-i-Sharif to Kabul leaving under the cover of darkness with nothing but their passports.
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Afghanistan evacuation flights hampered over last 8 hours because Qatar can’t process more Afghans
There is currently a slowdown in U.S. evacuation flights out of Kabul because Qatar – one of the countries that is allowing American military aircraft to land there – has reached their capacity when it comes to their ability to process refugees, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin is reporting.
Many of the Afghans that have been flown out of the country over the last few days fall under refugee status.
Kabul airport reopens but ‘corruption’ a roadblock, interpreter tells Fox News
Operations are ramping up at Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul to get Americans, other nationals and at-risk Afghans out of the soon-to-be-Taliban-run country. There is hope. Inside the airport operations are running smoother. Thousands are getting out.
One of the now hopeful is Faridoon Hazeen, an Afghan we’ve been following for the past few days. He spent 10 years as a local high-level translator for U.S. military organizations. Even though there is a big Taliban target on his back, he couldn’t get a visa out.
Now he tells Fox News’ Greg Palkot he thinks he and his family are on a list for evacuation.
The problem remains though getting to the airport and across the perimeter. Hazeen tells us there are “many Taliban checkpoints along the way,” all looking for any association with the U.S. military, often firing guns and waving truncheons. A
s Hazeen notes, “Corruption is a big problem.” He says if you want to pass by the “Taliban gate” it will cost you $200 per family member. … If you can make it pass their tough interrogation.
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Biden to address Afghanistan evacuations amid torrent of criticism over crisis
President Biden on Friday will address the bid to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Afghanistan in the face of the Taliban takeover of the country, as Biden faces a torrent of criticism for his handling of the U.S. withdrawal.
Officials said Friday that they have so far evacuated about 12,700 people from the country since the Taliban pressed toward Kabul, sparking chaotic scenes at the capital’s airports as nationals and Americans made desperate bids to board planes out of the besieged country.
Biden is set to speak at 1 p.m. ET.
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White House Communications Director claims Biden ‘never shies away from taking questions’
White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield claimed Friday that President Joe Biden “never shies away from taking questions” from reporters, despite the sharp criticism he’s received for avoiding media queries.
Bedingfield made the media rounds Friday as Biden, who will speak later at the White House, grapples with the worst foreign policy crisis of his presidency in Afghanistan.
“Will President Biden, after his remarks today, take questions? He’s given a couple of speeches, he did the interview with ABC News, but the White House press corps. and the American people have a lot of direct questions for him. Will he take those today?” MSNBC host Willie Geist asked Bedingfield as she appeared on “Morning Joe.”
“The president never shies away from taking questions. I’ll let him make a decision if he’s going to take questions this afternoon. But you saw he just did a full sit-down interview on this just yesterday. So, he is always willing to take questions and I’ll let him decide if he’s going to do that after his remarks today,” Bedingfield said.
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U.S. military buildup in Kabul nearly complete, officials say
Nearly 6,000 U.S. troops are now on the ground at Kabul airport on Friday, defense officials tell Fox News.
Trapped in Afghanistan, former interpreter’s brother pleads for help, fears Taliban will kill him
EXCLUSIVE: An Afghan man told Fox News he’s desperate to leave the country and fears for his life because his brother served as an interpreter for the U.S. military and later joined the U.S. Army.
“They are only trying to find the guys like us,” the man told Fox News.
“If they find [us], they will kill us.” The man, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taliban, granted Fox News an exclusive interview from an undisclosed location in Kabul near the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
He said the Taliban are specifically targeting family members of Afghans who helped the Americans, but especially those who went on to join the U.S. military.
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Taliban has deal with U.S. ‘to do nothing’ until Aug. 31, official claims
An Afghan official has told the Associated Press Friday that the Taliban isn’t planning on making any decisions or announcements regarding a new government until the Aug. 31 U.S. withdrawal deadline passes.
The official also said Taliban lead negotiator Anas Haqqani revealed that the militants have struck a deal with the U.S. “to do nothing” until after Aug. 31 passes, but declined to elaborate.
Update on American evacuation efforts
The Pentagon says over the last 24 hours, 5,700 people have been evacuated from Kabul aboard 16 Air Force C-17s.
That’s 356 per flight, just over max capacity on the aircraft and a significant increase over a day before when flights were departing nearly half empty.
A total of 12,700 people have now been evacuated since Aug. 14.
Kabul fell to the Taliban a day later.
Biden needs to authorize military to save stranded Americans in Afghanistan, Crenshaw says
President Biden must authorize the U.S. military to expand the perimeter around the Kabul airport and retake an important airfield to help with evacuations, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted early Friday.
Crenshaw served as a Navy SEAL for a decade and was wounded in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2012.
“Two things need to happen, and only Biden can authorize: 1. US military must be allowed to operate outside Kabul airport to get American citizens. 2: Retake Bagram airfield, thus giving us more options for evacuations. Biden created this mess and needs to take decisive action,” he tweeted.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn taking steps to protect Afghan users from Taliban targeting
Tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were working this week to secure the accounts of Afghans at risk of being targeted by the Taliban, which has taken over the country, according to reports.
Facebook’s Head of Security Nathaniel Gleicher said Thursday the company had removed the ability to search the “friends” list for accounts in Afghanistan and created a one-click tool for citizens to lock down their accounts so “people who aren’t their friends can’t download or share their profile photo or see posts on their timeline.”He said the company has also created popup alerts for Afghans needing to protect their Instagram accounts.
Greg Gutfeld: I found something worse than the Afghanistan cut and run, Biden’s defense of it
“So I was trying to think if there’s anything perhaps worse than our pullout from Afghanistan. At first, Saigon pops into your head, but compared to this, that now looks like a Rockettes dress rehearsal.
But I did in fact find something worse than the Afghanistan cut and run. It’s the president’s defense of it.”
US says it evacuated about 3,000 from Afghanistan on Thursday
A White House official told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. managed to evacuate about 3,000 people—including 350 U.S. citizens—from Afghanistan. The individuals were flown out of the country on 16 C-17 flights, the official said.
The report said about 9,000 people have been evacuated from the country since Saturday.
Moving photo shows Afghan child sleeping under US airmen’s uniform during evacuation
A photo of an Afghan child sleeping on the cargo floor of a U.S. Air Force C-17 amid the chaos in the country has captured the hearts of all those concerned about Afghanistan’s most vulnerable.
Tucked in with an airmen’s uniform, the boy has a moment’s rest during an evacuation flight that left Kabul on Wednesday, according to USA Today.
The jacket was reportedly borrowed from Airman First Class Nicolas Baron, a C-17 loadmaster, to help keep the child warm.
Americans in Afghanistan rescued by British military: former deputy national security advisor
The British military has stepped in to evacuate some American citizens who were left behind in Afghanistan following the Biden administration’s chaotic pullout of U.S. forces and the nation’s quick fall to Taliban terrorists, according to former Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger.
Meghan McCain says Biden is ‘unfit to lead’ amid Afghan turmoil
Former “View” co-host Meghan McCain continued blasting President Biden for his handling of the turbulent military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I have been physically ill, more depressed than I have been since the beginning stages of the pandemic and filled nothing short of pure rage and anger since the calamity of a ‘pull out’ which will be seen as one of the greatest foreign policy catastrophes of my lifetime,” McCain began her Instagram post on Thursday.
Taliban going ‘house to house’ in Afghanistan ‘hanging’ people who worked with US: source
As the U.S. military and State Department rush to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from Kabul’s airport, Taliban checkpoints are cutting off many from freedom and safety – and reports on the ground indicate the militants are summarily executing people who helped U.S. forces over the years.
Ryan Rogers, a retired Marine sergeant, told Fox News Thursday that the interpreter he worked with during the bloody 2010 battle of Marjah in Helmand province is currently trapped in Kabul, prevented from reaching the airport as Taliban fighters seek out and murder former Afghan commandoes and interpreters.
DOD releases photos of U.S. service members aiding Afghanistan evacuation efforts
The Department of Defense released photos of U.S. servicemembers assisting with efforts to aid Afghan refugees on Thursday as the Biden administration ramps up efforts to evacuate thousands seeking to escape the Taliban.
The photos showed U.S. troops serving lunch to Afghan refugees who were completing Special Immigrant Applications, a U.S. Marine escorting civilians through a security checkpoint at Kabul’s airport, and Afghan civilians preparing to board a transport plane to evacuate the country.
The Pentagon says its evacuation effort has taken about 7,000 people to safety since it began Saturday.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told Bret Baier on “Special Report” Thursday that there is no deal with the Taliban restricting U.S. forces only to Kabul’s international airport as evacuations continue.
“There’s no deal that restricts forces to the airport, but that’s where the mission is,” he said. “The troops are there for really two things. One, to keep that airport safe and secure for people and for flight operations; and two, to make sure that those flight operations can go as unimpeded as possible.
“He said that the Pentagon has “not seen any great impediments” to Americans in Afghanistan trying to get through Taliban checkpoints and into the airport.
The Defense Department is sharing images from the international airport in Kabul as authorities continue the effort to evacuate thousands of civilians from Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover.
State Dept. spokesman says government won’t charge for evacuation flights
“In these unique circumstances, we have no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday.
The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan had previously said it would seek payment from people seeking evacuation assistance once they were safely out of the country.
Evacuation flights departing Kabul well short of capacity
The U.S. Air Force has evacuated 2,000 people in the past 24 hours from Kabul, but flights are leaving well short of capacity as Americans and Afghan refugees struggle to get into the airport.
Each C-17 transport plane took off Thursday with 180 people on board – 40% short of its 300-person capacity, Fox News learned.
Retired Afghanistan Special Forces officer Don Bolduc shares message for service members, vets
Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and was one of the first Special Forces officers in the country after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, says U.S. service members and veterans’ efforts in the country “were not in vain.”
The Taliban has gained control of more than two-thirds of Afghanistan amid the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the country after 20 years, prompting citizens to flee their homes and seek refuge in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Marc Thiessen calls on Biden, Blinken to resign over Afghanistan withdrawal disaster
President Biden continues to surround himself with “sycophants” in a way that is the complete opposite of healthy administrations where debate and opposing views are a hallmark of good policy, former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen said Thursday.
He told “The Story” that Biden himself claimed in an ABC News interview with former Clinton White House communications director George Stephanopoulos that he received no pushback from his closest advisers on his Afghanistan withdrawal strategy that has resulted in an intensifying disaster on the ground. Thiessen said Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken must resign over the international crisis they have caused.
A female Afghan news anchor says she was turned away from her office by Taliban guards.
Shabnam Dawran, a well-known host on Afghanistan’s state-owned RTA Pashto network, said she was told to go home despite turning up to work in a hijab and carrying proper identification, according to a translation of a video she shared on Twitter.
Afghanistan withdrawal a ‘stupid plan’ that armed Taliban with US weapons: Former staff sergeant
Staff Sgt. William Bee, who was one of the first Marines to deploy to the country after Sept. 11, 2001, told Fox News Wednesday evening that his wife ordered him to stop watching so much news coverage after he grew irate over some of the developments.
Afghanistan collapse: State Dept says 6,000 people processed for evacuation at Kabul airport
The State Department on Thursday said that 6,000 people, including Americans, have been processed for evacuation at Kabul airport amid continuing efforts to get U.S. citizens and Afghan allies out of the country.
Fox News has learned from a credible source that the State Department is looking into non-military ways to stage and move Americans and others who are in Kabul, as an alternative to military forces being deployed into Kabul for rescues.
When asked for confirmation on the record, the State Department did not dispute the information.
“Our first priority is the safety and security of the American people and we will continue to uphold that commitment.”
Kabul flights departing well below capacity
The U.S. Air Force has evacuated 2,000 people in the past 24 hours – far less than 5 to 9,000 a day the Pentagon says is the goal. Each C-17 transport plane took off today with 180 people per flight – far short of its 300 person maximum capacity. That’s U.S. flights departing Kabul 40% empty.
On Sunday, a C-17 left Kabul with 640 Afghans, but that was an exception done in extremis, Fox is told.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a news briefing that U.S. officials have processed 6,000 people at Kabul’s airport and that the Defense Department expects to take off 20 times Thursday.
McEnany rips Psaki for not holding daily briefings during Afghanistan crisis
“Jen Psaki promised us a daily White House press briefing,” “Outnumbered” co-host Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday. “There isn’t one today. There wasn’t one Monday. When the going gets tough, the daily press briefing that she promised goes out the window.”
More evacuation flights coming?
U.S. airlines and other aircraft operators will be allowed to make evacuation flights out of Kabul if they get permission in advance from the Pentagon, the Associated Press is reporting.
“Due to a lack of high altitude air traffic control services, U.S. operators and pilots must receive authorization from the FAA to overfly Afghanistan,” the Federal Aviation Administration reportedly said in a statement on Thursday. “Any U.S. or foreign operator flying into Hamid Karzai International Airport must obtain prior permission from the U.S. Department of Defense.”
U.S. fighter jets fly over Kabul to secure evacuations
The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. has been conducting armed “overwatch” flights over Kabul in the last 24 hours as an “added layer of force” to ensure the security of the U.S. mission to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country after the Taliban takeover.
Department of Defense officials denied that the flights were a “show of force” or a prelude to airstrikes on Kabul.
Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor on Thursday said Pentagon officials “continue to recognize the inherent danger of operating in this environment,” maintaining, though, that U.S. troops are remaining “agile, professional, and are postured to continue the mission, and to respond if required.”
“We will use all of the tools in our arsenal to achieve this goal,” Taylor said, adding that the U.S. is “absolutely focused on this mission of national importance” and is “committed to the safe evacuation of as many people as quickly and as safely as possible.”
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Pentagon asked why British troops leaving Kabul airport to rescue citizens but Americans aren’t
The Pentagon was pressed Thursday to explain why the U.S. isn’t rescuing Americans outside of the Kabul airport as the British are doing for their citizens.
At a press briefing, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin said: “General Taylor, British paratroopers are leaving the airport, going into Kabul to rescue and evacuate some of their citizens who are trapped [and] can’t get to the airport because of the Taliban.”
“Why isn’t the U.S. doing that?” she asked. Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, who serves as deputy director of the Joint Staff Regional Operations, replied that the U.S.’ focus was on securing Hamid Karzai International Airport.
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Push to bring in Afghan refugees sees support, little opposition from GOP lawmakers
The push by the Biden administration to bring tens of thousands of Afghan refugees into the U.S. is so far seeing support from many Republican lawmakers, with only a handful objecting to the move in response to the collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
The Pentagon has said it intends to transfer 22,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders to the United States, where they will be housed at three military bases.
However, officials have acknowledged that that number could rise, and there are calls for that number to be increased dramatically.
“If we have to go more, higher than that, we will certainly do that,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said this week, referring to not only SIV applicants from Afghanistan but also their families. “We’re committed to their families as well.”
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Virginia Tech student details horrors Afghan family experiencing after Taliban takeover
A college student at Virginia Tech whose parents emigrated from Afghanistan is detailing the horrors her relatives are experiencing with the Taliban in control of the country.
“The night after the Taliban took over, I wake up – it’s another day here in America. I look at my phone and I have a missed call and a couple messages from a cousin in Afghanistan,” Mariam Farzayee, president of the Afghan Student Association at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, told Fox News. “He’s begging me for help to get him out, he says, ‘Is there any way you can sponsor me to leave? Is there any way you can help me get into another country?’”
“He was talking to me about he’s terrified for his own life and he feels so helpless and doesn’t know what he can really do from there,” Farzayee said, detailing the photos and videos she received showing how Taliban fighters were outside her cousin’s building. “He said the night before, the Taliban had come to his house and they broke a ton of windows in his neighborhood and they also broke the windows in his cars. He said all he could do was shelter in place because there’s really nothing he can do.”
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Woman held hostage by Taliban in 2001 warns of ‘dire’ situation in Afghanistan
An American who was captured by the Taliban in 2001 said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday that the situation in Afghanistan is “dire” for those trying to flee the Taliban.
Heather Mercer was arrested and tried under Islamic law for her work with women and children in Afghanistan. She worked primarily with widows and orphans, creating work opportunities for women and helping children develop critical job skills and had cultivated relationships with Afghan families.
She is now working to get an Afghan family out of the country as the Taliban is taking control.
The family, a mother and her six children, are all U.S. citizens and green card holders, but they’re unable to access the airport to leave Afghanistan.
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Update on American evacuation efforts
The number of American troops now on the ground in Kabul has reached 5,200 Thursday as 13 Air Force C-17 planes have evacuated 2,000 passengers over the past 24 hours, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor says.
Taylor adds that at this time, the “main mission” in Afghanistan is to secure Kabul’s airport and “allow those American citizens and other civilians to come in and be processed at the airfield.”
Pentagon spokesperson not sure how many Americans remain in Afghanistan
Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby, when asked during a news conference Thursday about how many Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan, said “I don’t know”.
Taliban fire at Afghans celebrating Independence Day, videos show
Chaos is erupting across Afghanistan Thursday as Taliban fighters have been caught on video opening fire on crowds waving Afghan flags and celebrating the country’s Independence Day.
In one of the demonstrations in the eastern city of Asadabad, several people were killed, reports say. A witness told Reuters that “hundreds of people” came out onto the streets but then several died after the Taliban started shooting at the crowd, triggering a stampede.
However, it was not immediately clear which event caused the deaths.
Footage from the area obtained by Fox News shows cyclists and a car racing through the streets of Asadabad while bearing the Afghanistan tri-color flag. In the background, gunshots could be heard.
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Biden: ‘No one’s being killed’ in Afghanistan, can’t ‘recall’ staff telling him to delay withdrawal
President Biden in an interview with ABC that aired Thursday said “no one’s being killed” in Afghanistan despite reports of at least seven deaths amid the chaos at Kabul’s airport and of Taliban beating people on their way to the airport, as he defended his handling of the American withdrawal from the country.
Biden further told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that none of his advisers told him America should stay in Afghanistan, and that intelligence did not indicate the Afghan government would quickly collapse – despite reports that’s exactly what the intelligence said.
And the president said his advisers did not tell him to delay the troop withdrawal, despite reports that’s exactly what his advisers did.
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Taliban captures Afghanistan female governor, report says
Taliban fighters have taken Salima Mazari — who is one of the only three female governors in Afghanistan — into their custody, the Times of India is reporting, citing local media.
The newspaper described the governor of the Chahar Kint district in Balkh province as a critic of the militant group. “In the provinces controlled by the Taliban, no women exist there anymore, not even in the cities.
They are all imprisoned in their homes,” she was quoted by the newspaper as saying before the Taliban swept through the country.
Former Army Rangers blast Biden for Afghanistan ‘dumpster fire’
Two former U.S. Army rangers who served in Afghanistan are blasting President Biden for having “no plan” for withdrawing from the country and then blaming others for the “dumpster fire” that ensued.
Dan Blakeley and Tom Amenta, who recently came out with a photo journal dedicated to veterans titled “The Twenty Year War,” spoke to Fox News on Wednesday about what went wrong with the exit from Afghanistan.
“They should have had a plan, because they clearly didn’t,” said Amenta. He went on to cite the administration’s message to Americans in Afghanistan outside Kabul earlier this week that instructed them to get to Kabul but let them know that no one would be coming to help.
“This administration did not [have a] plan and does not have one,” he said.
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Taliban reportedly kills protesters waving Afghanistan flags
Several people reportedly have been killed Thursday during a rally against the Taliban in the eastern Afghanistan city of Asadabad.
Witness Mohammed Salim told Reuters that “hundreds of people” came out onto the streets and “at first I was scared and didn’t want to go but when I saw one of my neighbors joined in I took out the flag I have at home.”
But then several demonstrators died after the Taliban opened fire on the crowd, triggering a stampede, Salim said.
However, it was not immediately clear which event caused the deaths.
In a video posted on social media, a group of men and women holding Afghanistan flags in Kabul were seen shouting “our flag, our identity,” Reuters adds.
Reports also have emerged of white Taliban flags being torn down by Afghans.
“Salute those who carry the national flag and thus stand for the dignity of the nation and the country,” First Vice President Amrullah Saleh posted on Twitter.
Afghanistan ‘devastated’ by Taliban takeover, says US-based nephew of exiled leader
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has left much of the country ‘devastated,’ says the 27-year-old nephew of Ashraf Ghani, the county’s exiled president.
Amel Ghani is a graduate of American University and living in Washington, D.C., according to FOX35 Orlando, which recently interviewed him.
Since the fall of Kabul last week, the country has been in “complete chaos,” the nephew said. The fallout has even reached him, in the capital city of the U.S., he claimed.
“I am not just receiving questions, I am receiving threats on my family’s lives, among other things,” he told the station.
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Biden says as many as 15,000 Americans looking to flee Afghanistan
As many as 15,000 American citizens may remain inside Afghanistan, struggling to get out, days after the Asian nation fell to control of Taliban terrorists, President Biden said Wednesday.
Also looking to flee are tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who fought alongside or aided U.S. troops over the past two decades – and now fear retribution from the terrorist organization now wielding power in the country, The Associated Press reported.
Biden said the U.S. was committed to getting every American out of Afghanistan – even if that meant some U.S. troops would remain in the country beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for their withdrawal after a two-decade-long military operation.
Taliban fighters block access to Kabul airport despite assurances
Taliban fighters on Wednesday were seen beating back individuals with proper paperwork who were trying to get to Kabul’s airport, which has turned into something of a gateway for freedom for many in the country.
“It’s a complete disaster,” one person attempting to get through a checkpoint told Reuters.
“The Taliban were firing into the air, pushing people, beating them with AK47s.” The Taliban denied the allegation, which would be in stark contrast to its assurances to the U.S.
The Reuters report portrayed a worsening climate in the country. Witnesses told the outlet that Taliban fighters opened fire when residents in Jalalabad after some tried to raise Afghanistan’s national flag.
Three were killed, the report said. The extraction of Americans and Afghans who assisted with efforts in the country has become of focal point in the U.S. and a source of criticism for the Biden administration. –Edmund DeMarche
McCarthy, McConnell send letter to Biden requesting ‘Gang of 8’ briefing on Afghanistan
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to President Biden requesting a briefing for the top congressional intelligence leaders on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where the U.S. military is attempting to evacuate Americans from the Taliban-controlled capital.
“It is of the utmost importance that the U.S. Government account for all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan and provide the necessary information and means of departure to all those Americans who desire to leave the country,” said the letter from the two Republican leaders, sent on Thursday, said.
Biden admin moved to dismantle protections for citizens overseas months before Kabul’s fall: memo
The Biden administration moved in June to dismantle a system designed to protect American citizens trapped abroad — just months before the Taliban took over Afghanistan, stranding thousands of Americans in the Central Asian country.
Afghan woman lashes out after botched withdrawal, Taliban takeover: ‘The world betrayed Afghanistan’
An Afghan woman who runs a non-government organization in Afghanistan had harsh words for the international community Wednesday after a botched American withdrawal and the Taliban’s unimpeded rush to retake the country..
“We are seeing everything we have built so hard piece by piece being lost in Afghanistan,” said the woman, whose identity is being withheld due to concerns for her safety. “Our 20 years of gains and hard work vanished overnight.”
How did it happen?
“The world betrayed Afghanistan, legitimized the savages, and brought them into power,” she said. “I don’t understand, I am still in shock. Afghans, especially women, will face a very new world, a world of fear, destruction, misery and endless pain.”
After the U.S. telegraphed its withdrawal from the country ahead of Sept. 11, 2021, Taliban militants seized territory at an alarming rate, retaking rural areas and then provincial capitals before marching into Kabul on Sunday.
Exiled President Ashraf Ghani fled to safety in the United Arab Emirates. Government forces, equipped and trained by U.S. taxpayers’ money, in many cases gave up without a fight. Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon news conference Wednesday that no one saw the Taliban’s offensive successes coming.
But in his first interview since the fall of Kabul Sunday, President Biden told ABC News ‘ George Stephanopoulos that he doesn’t believe the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been handled without “chaos ensuing.”
Kabul’s international airport is currently the scene of a U.S. military-secured evacuation effort to help thousands of American citizens and Afghan partners eligible for special visas get out of the country.
Taliban fighters have surrounded the area with checkpoints but while defense officials characterized the situation as “dangerous,” they said there had been “no hostile interactions” between militants and Americans.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.
Lindsey Graham says heads should roll at State Department over Afghanistan debacle
The South Carolina senator took aim at Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s performance during Wednesday’s press conference, saying he couldn’t “believe” his ears when Sherman “went through all of her efforts to improve the lives of Afghan women going back to 1997 and now believes that those words matter.”
Biden tells interviewer he knew Afghan withdrawal would result in ‘chaos’
In his first interview since the fall of Kabul Sunday, President Biden told ABC News‘ George Stephanopoulos that he doesn’t believe the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan could have been handled without “chaos ensuing.”
“When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government, getting in a plane and taking off and going to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them just leaving their equipment and taking off – that’s what happened,” he said.
When pressed on whether he thought the departure of American forces could have been handled better, he said no.
“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that while the main priority is to increase evacuations from the airport in Kabul, U.S. forces won’t be able to go out and fetch large numbers of civilians eligible to fly out on government planes.
“We don’t have the capability to go out and collect large numbers of people,” he said Wednesday.
He also said that Taliban checkpoints were allowing U.S. citizens through to the airport — but the fate of Afghan partners was less clear.
Gen. Milley denies intel warned of rapid Afghan military collapse
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was asked about reports that intelligence warned of a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, with some suggesting President Biden may have ignored those concerns to press ahead with his planned drawdown of forces.
“There was nothing, that I or anybody else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Milley said.
The White House is doubling down on Vice President Kamala Harris’ planned trip to Vietnam — even as the rapid fall of Afghanistan is being compared to the fall of Saigon in 1975.
“There are no planned changes to the Vice President’s travel,” a White House official told Fox News. “She is being briefed regularly on the situation in Afghanistan and she and her national security team are actively engaged in White House and interagency discussions.”
Harris is expected to continue to receive briefings on the Afghan crisis while overseas.
“Given our global leadership role, we can and we must manage developments in one region while simultaneously advancing our strategic interests in other regions on other issues,” the official said. “The United States has many interests around the world, and we are well-equipped to pursue them all at the same time.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked about U.S. taxpayer-funded aircraft that have reportedly gone missing from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover and evacuation effort.
“In terms of what we’re doing about them currently, right now we’re focused on the airfield and getting people out safely,” he said. “So we’re gonna take that issue up at a later date.”
President Biden met with his national security team Wednesday morning ahead of a Pentagon news briefing on the effort to evacuate American citizens and allies from Afghanistan.
Evacuation of American citizens from Afghanistan the top priority: Milley
“The situation is still very dangerous, very dynamic, and very fluid,” Joints Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said at the Pentagon Wednesday.
All American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan are the government’s top priority, he said. And the military is also working to help U.S. allies escape the country.
About 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, according to Milley.
“This is personal, and we’re gonna get them out,” he said.
Defense Secretary says ‘no hostile interactions’ between US, Taliban as evacuation continues
“There have been no hostile interactions with the Taliban,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a Wednesday afternoon news briefing at the Pentagon.
He said U.S. troops have secured the airport, which is functioning safely – for now.
He said authorities were working to increase the speed of the evacuation effort on a daily bases.
“As we build out this capacity, we’re working hand-and-glove with the State Department,” he said.State Department officials are working to identify and process American citizens as well as other eligible evacuees and help get them to safety.
Ghani makes first statement since fleeing Afghanistan Sunday
Exiled Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who left the country Sunday as the Taliban approached Kabul, said if he had remained in the country there would have been more violence Wednesday in his first public remarks since then.
“If I stayed, I would have witnessed bloodshed,” he said, according to a translation of his remarks. “My mission was however seeking that Kabul should not be Yemen or Syria.”
However he denied accusations that he had sold out his people while admitting that the Taliban takeover was a “shameful development.”
He said stalled peace talks in Qatar were a failure of both Taliban leadership and his own government.
“I left to prevent bloodshed, in order to make sure that a huge disaster is prevented,” he said.
He denied that he took government money and fled and said he took his “main assets” – important documents — and the clothes on his back. He said certain confidential documents were being held by others.
Ghani said he is currently in the United Arab Emirates and was consulting with advisers on how to proceed for “justice and peace.”
UAE officials confirmed earlier Wednesday that they were sheltering Ghani and his family “on humanitarian grounds.”
Haroon Janjua contributed to this report.
Escape from Afghanistan: Airline pilot reveals harrowing journey from Kabul
A Pakistan International Airlines pilot who flew one of the last civilian flights out of Kabul over the weekend is now opening up about his harrowing story of escape, reportedly saying that he feared his passengers and crew “could be used as hostages” if they stayed in Afghanistan any longer.
Maqsood Birjani made the comments in a video posted Tuesday on YouTube, which was translated by the website Sam Chui Aviation and Travel.
“I feel if we had delayed, even a little longer than we did, then the aircraft would have been engulfed by a mob and we would not have been able to go anywhere,” Birjani reportedly said.
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Colorado family trapped in Afghanistan safely escapes country
A Colorado family that was left stranded in Afghanistan after their flight home was canceled has safely made it out of the war-torn country that has been taken over by the Taliban, Fox News can report.
A woman and her two daughters, who were visiting relatives in Afghanistan when Taliban-led chaos struck, were able to escape with the help of retired Special Forces Col. Patrick Allen, he confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday.
The trio, all of whom are U.S. citizens, made it on to a flight to Qatar and are expected to return to the United States in the coming hours or days. “It worked out for us, but it was touch and go all along,” Allen said, when reached by phone.
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Biden, Merkel speak about Afghanistan
The White House says President Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have spoken today about the situation in Afghanistan.
“They praised the ongoing efforts of their military and civilian personnel who are working closely together in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens, vulnerable Afghans, and the courageous Afghan nationals who worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to provide security, promote peace, and deliver development assistance to the Afghan people,” the White House said in a statement.
“They also discussed the need for close coordination on the provision of humanitarian aid for vulnerable Afghans in country as well as support for neighboring states, and agreed to continue planning for this work in the upcoming virtual meeting of G7 partners,” the statement added.
CENTCOM Commander Gen. McKenzie in Kabul
The Department of Defense has posted an image of Gen. McKenzie “touring a control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport.”
U.S. troops photographed in Afghanistan
The Department of Defense Twitter page has posted a series of photos showing the first U.S. Marines and soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan.
NATO calls emergency meeting on Afghanistan
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced in a tweet that he has “convened an extraordinary virtual meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers this Friday 20 August to continue our close coordination & discuss our common approach on Afghanistan.”
Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “there are lessons that need to be learned” at NATO following the sudden fall of the Afghan government.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani surfaces in the United Arab Emirates
Ashraf Ghani has emerged in the United Arab Emirates Wednesday after fleeing Kabul on Sunday.
“The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds,” the country said in a statement.
First female Afghan Air Force pilot: ‘Don’t believe’ Taliban propaganda about women’s rights
The first female Air Force pilot in Afghanistan’s history spoke out on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday to warn others that the Taliban will “hurt women the most.”
“Unfortunately, my family is still there. And since I have heard what happened in Afghanistan, I cannot sleep, I cannot get my mind together, I am so in fear for their security. And, of course, it hasn’t been only about me,” Rahmani told “Fox & Friends.”
Rahmani, 29, said that her “family and parents are in danger.” Rahmani’s parents have been “targeted by the Taliban” as they have supported her throughout her career.
The pilot escaped Afghanistan to the U.S. in 2015 after becoming famous for being the first female Afghan Air Force pilot since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Her fame was met with scorn from the Taliban and she said they have been sending her “death threats since 2013.”
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Taliban violently break up protest in eastern Afghanistan, video shows
One person has been killed and six others are reported wounded Wednesday as videos are emerging of the Taliban violently breaking up a protest in eastern Afghanistan.
Footage obtained by Fox News shows a crowd in the streets of Jalalabad unfurling a large Afghanistan flag amidst the sounds of cheers.
Gunshots then ring out as the crowd continues to wave the flag up and down, before a video taken later shows people running away from the scene as more consistent gunfire is heard.
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U.S., other nations release joint statement about women and girls in Afghanistan
The State Department has released a statement about the “Situation of Women and Girls in Afghanistan”, which is co-signed by Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
“We are deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement,” the statement says. “We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.”
“Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented,” it continues. “We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard.”
U.S. officials: ‘Challenging’ to meet Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline
U.S. officials privately warn it will be “challenging” to meet President Biden’s Aug. 31st deadline as U.S. troops continue pouring into Afghanistan to protect the airport and evacuate thousands of Americans stuck behind Taliban lines.
“We are still ramping up,” one official admits.
There are now over 4,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Kabul. Two thousand more are expected to land in the next few days.
‘Everyone is scared’: American trapped in Afghanistan speaks out
U.S. citizen Haroon describes the scene in Afghanistan as thousands of people attempt to leave the country.
Karzai meets with Haqqani network leader, reports say
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has met Wednesday with the senior leader of a militant group and Taliban faction that the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization, according to Reuters.
The meeting between Karzai and Anas Haqqani of the Haqqani network was aimed at facilitating eventual negotiations with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – the Taliban’s political leader, Karzai’s spokesperson told the Associated Press.
The Taliban currently is in the process of trying to establish a government following their rapid takeover of Afghanistan and Kabul, its capital.
China addresses ‘the question of diplomatic recognition’
China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that it is waiting for the creation of an “open, inclusive, and widely representative” Afghanistan government before weighing in on “the question of diplomatic recognition.”
“If we are going to recognize a government, we will have to wait till the government is formed,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, according to the Associated Press.
“China will continue to support the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan and provide assistance to Afghanistan’s economic and social development within its capacity,” he added.
EU diplomat on Taliban: ‘We must speak with them’
The European Union’s top diplomat said Wednesday it is necessary to negotiate with the Taliban in order to secure the safe evacuations of foreign nationals and Afghans who have worked with NATO from Kabul.
“I said that we must speak with them and some people found that scandalous,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Spanish National Radio, according to the Associated Press. “But how are we supposed to open a safe passage to the airport if we are not speaking with those who have taken control of Kabul?”
His comments come as Germany is sending 600 army personnel to Kabul to assist in the evacuation efforts, the AP adds.
Deposed Afghan president Ghani made snap decision in ‘minutes’ to flee as Taliban entered Kabul
Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani made a snap decision to flee the country last weekend, doing so without the assistance of U.S. officials as Taliban insurgents entered Kabul, a well-placed source who spoke to bodyguards at the presidential palace told Fox News on Tuesday.
The source described divisions between top officials close to Ghani on the night he fled, with some attempting last-minute negotiations with Taliban leaders in Qatar in a bid to avoid bloodshed. Efforts to negotiate a semi-inclusive government and safe passage failed as Taliban militants breached Kabul and approached the palace.
Ghani made his decision to flee the country in a matter of minutes, and U.S. officials did not help him evacuate the country. The source noted the president’s exit as panic spread through Kabul likely averted a “bloodbath” in the city.
“Would have been fighting in the streets [if Ghani had stayed],” the source said.
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Kabul airport stampede injures 17
At least 17 people reportedly have been injured Wednesday in a stampede at Kabul’s airport.
The stampede happened at one of the gates to the airport, a NATO security official told Reuters.
Despite Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden seeks to spend $3.6B more on reconstruction there next year
The war and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion — but the Biden administration has asked for more, even with plans to fully withdraw from the country this summer.
In its budget request for fiscal year 2022, the White House included $3.3 billion for Afghan security forces to be paid out via the Department of Defense’s Afghanistan Security Forces Fund.
That money would flow to the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, Afghan Air Force and the Afghan Special Security Forces, entities that put up little resistance as the Taliban swept across the country in just a few days.
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Stephen Miller: Afghanistan resettlements driven by politics, not humanitarian concerns
Stephen Miller, who served as a senior adviser to former President Donald Trump, appeared on “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday night, where he claimed the Biden administration could not be trusted to handle the resettling of Afghanistan refugees who are trying to flee Taliban rule.
“Those who are advocating mass Afghan resettlements in this country are doing so for political, not humanitarian, reasons,” he said.
Taliban collect ammo guns from civilians after takeover: report
Vowing that they will not “harm innocent civilians,” the Taliban have started to collect guns and ammunition from Afghan civilians in Kabul, a report said.
Reuters, citing a Taliban official, reported that the group said people in the city will no longer need to hold onto their weapons because they no longer need personal protection.
“They can now feel safe,” the official told the outlet.
Reuters spoke to one business owner who said Taliban fighters already visited his workplace to inquire about where his security team keeps its weapons.
Afghanistan crisis has Gold Star mom remembering Marine son she lost in 2010
A Washington state Gold Star mom discussed her heartbreak Tuesday at seeing the Taliban take over Afghanistan following a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
It’s been more than 11 years since her son, Lance Cpl. Eric L. Ward, 19, a Marine from Redmond, died fighting in the country.
“Today is – would have been – Eric’s 31st birthday,” his mom, Monica McNeal told Q13 FOX of Seattle. “The hardest thing right now is the fact that all these emotions are being resonated.”
Ward died in a “hostile incident” in southern Afghanistan in 2010, according to the U.S. Defense Department. A machine-gunner, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, the Seattle Times reported.
McNeal said it was difficult seeing people desperate to escape, including thousands of Afghans who rushed into Kabul’s main airport Monday.
The takeover led her to wonder if her son’s sacrifice more than a decade ago was worth it.
“You don’t want to say it was for naught,” she added. “And I don’t want to say that, because I know my son was very proud serving as a U.S. Marine.”
Bret Baier knocks White House response to Taliban takeover, ‘shocked’ by evacuation plan
The Biden administration’s downplaying of how the U.S. left Afghanistan behind, “stunned” “Special Report” host Bret Baier on Tuesday who expressed his “shock” on “America Reports.”
President Biden’s first call with a world leader following the fall of Kabul was with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday evening, according to the White House.
“They commended the bravery and professionalism of their military and civilian personnel, who are working shoulder to shoulder in Kabul on the evacuation of their citizens and Afghan nationals who assisted in the war effort,” a spokesperson said. “They also discussed the need for continued close coordination among allies and democratic partners on Afghanistan policy going forward, including ways the global community can provide further humanitarian assistance and support for refugees and other vulnerable Afghans.”
They also said that the leaders of the G-7 nations will hold a virtual meeting next week to discuss a plan for going forward.
New special inspector general report highlights same old problems in Afghanistan
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released a new report Tuesday, his 11th since 2009, on the past two decades of U.S. attempts at nation building in Afghanistan.
There have been bright spots—such as lower child mortality rates, increases in per capita GDP, and increased literacy rates. But after spending 20 years and $145 billion trying to rebuild Afghanistan, the U.S. government has many lessons it needs to learn. Implementing these critical lessons will save lives and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in Afghanistan, and in future reconstruction missions elsewhere around the world.
What the Taliban’s interpretation of Sharia law means for Afghanistan
The Taliban on Tuesday said they were working to form a government that would be centered on Sharia law and urged Afghans to live “within the framework of Islam.”
Former ambassador laments ‘Al Qaeda is back’: ‘We’ve turned Afghanistan into our mortal enemy’
“It’s a very sad and disturbing time for all Americans,” says Ryan Crocker, who served as a diplomat to several Middle Eastern countries, including as ambassador to Afghanistan under Presidents George W. Bush as Barack Obama – said of Al Qaeda.
With Taliban victory, Afghanistan could become the ‘second school of jihadism’
The disheartening end to America’s longest war raises a number of questions about U.S. national security policy in Central Asia and the future of the newly installed Taliban government in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the biggest unknown amid the power vacuum and confusion of the American withdrawal is what the Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda really is, 20 years after harboring the terrorist group that planned and coordinated the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
State Dept tells Americans in Afghanistan to ‘shelter in place’ until they hear from embassy
The State Department on Tuesday told American citizens and others looking to get out of Afghanistan that they should “shelter in place” until they are given further instruction by the U.S. Embassy amid a fragile security situation in the Afghan capital.”
Our message remains for American citizens and for others who have expressed interest in relocation out of Afghanistan: shelter in place until and unless you receive a communication from the U.S. embassy,” spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Pompeo on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan: Biden admin ‘didn’t project American strength’
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “America Reports” on Tuesday the Biden administration did not “project strength” after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
Biden hasn’t spoken to any foreign leaders since fall of Afghanistan to Taliban
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that President Biden has not spoken with any other world leaders since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban over the weekend, as the president remains at Camp David amid frantic efforts to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from the country.
Human remains found in C-17 landing gear after Kabul evacuation flight
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is reviewing reports that people tried clinging to a departing C-17 airplane Sunday after the Afghan government’s collapse, according to an Air Force spokesperson.
The vehicle had landed Sunday to deliver supplies for the evacuation effort but encountered a mob of civilians who had breached the airport’s perimeter, the spokesperson said. Fearing “a rapidly deteriorating security situation,” the pilot decided to take off.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Fox News Tuesday that the U.S. has “received assurances” from the Taliban that the group will allow safe passage for civilians headed to Kabul’s airport.
“We take it for what it is,” he said. “We will of course be looking for one thing and one thing only, follow through.”
White House secretary Jen Psaki said as many as 11,000 Americans are still in Afghanistan Tuesday afternoon during her daily news briefing.
The State Department and U.S. military are working to help them get out. The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan is offering repatriation assistance on its website for Americans and other eligible travelers, including immediate family members and people awaiting visas, looking to leave the country.
However, Psaki stopped short of pledging that the military would help evacuate all Americans and allies who remain in the country past the end of the month.
“Our focus right now is on doing the work at hand,” she said, defining that as evacuating as many eligible people as possible.
Earlier in the day, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby had estimated between 5,000 and 10,000.
OPINION: After Biden’s Afghanistan debacle, he’s got to tell us how he’ll defend our nation
“The administration’s hasty and disastrous exit from Afghanistan—where our capability to find, fix, and finish the enemies who seek to do us harm has been so greatly diminished— has done grave damage to our international standing” — Daniel N. Hoffman
War in Afghanistan by the numbers
The nearly 20-year-long U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan has claimed thousands of lives and is now ending with the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country.
Click here for a look at the costs of nearly two decades in this conflict.
Americans, Afghan interpreters turning to Congress for help fleeing Afghanistan and the Taliban
Americans and Afghan interpreters are turning to Congress for help getting out of Afghanistan and into the U.S. amid the fall of Kabul and the rise of Taliban rule.
Some Republican lawmakers are speaking out about the number of people contacting them for help fleeing Afghanistan amid the botched troop withdrawal that led to the Taliban swiftly taking over the country.
Currently, it is estimated that there are some 10,000 Americans still in Afghanistan. The Pentagon said Tuesday during a press briefing that more than 4,000 troops will arrive in Kabul by the end, with the goal to evacuate 5,000 to 9,000 people daily.
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Psaki, Sullivan to field questions on Afghanistan
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan are holding a press briefing.
Click here to watch.
US commanders interacting with Taliban leaders, ‘no threat’ by group to airport evacuation: Pentagon
U.S. commanders are interacting with Taliban leaders in Afghanistan amid the mission to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, the Pentagon said Tuesday, maintaining that, at this point, there has been “no threat” made by the extremist group.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed the interactions Tuesday, but declined to provide details.
U.S. commanders “are charged with making sure this is a safe and secure environment, and we trust them to have the interactions they feel they need to have to ensure that, in every aspect across the whole spectrum of what this mission requires of them, that they can do it safely and efficiently, and in an orderly manner,” Kirby said.
Kirby elaborated on the “assessed threat” at this point, saying that the U.S. has “had no hostile interactions, no attack and no threat by the Taliban.”
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Dogs being evacuated from Afghanistan as well
An image posted on Twitter by photographer Phillip Walter Wellman of Stars and Stripes shows a dog amongst those being evacuated from Kabul this week.
“The dogs did have seats reserved for them on the evacuation flight,” he said in a follow-up tweet
. “We were told we couldn’t sit in seats with reserved signs on them because the space was being saved for the dogs.”
Wellman added that “these dogs were likely working with U.S. contractors in Afghanistan and may not be ‘military’ dogs, but rather work dogs supporting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.”
Senators warn that the Taliban are already suppressing rights of women, girls in Afghanistan
U.S. senators are sounding the alarm about the civil rights abuses of women and girls in Afghanistan after the Taliban took complete control of the country with astonishing speed following President Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops.
“Afghanistan has been handed over to the Taliban under Joe Biden’s rushed and mishandled withdrawal. Now, Afghan women and children are suffering the consequences,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, tweeted Tuesday morning. “Afghan women and girls who were just starting to enjoy their freedoms are again faced with oppression and subjugation by a ruthless Taliban regime.”
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Traffic jams bring Kabul to a halt
A Fox News reporter in Kabul has captured stunning images of a traffic jam in one neighborhood as uncertainty continues to spread throughout the Afghan capital following its takeover by the Taliban.
Evacuation warning signs were there, U.S. officer suggests
A former U.S. Army infantry officer tells Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson that he knew “when we closed Bagram we were going to have this problem” of evacuating people from Afghanistan.
Bagram Air Base, located just north of Kabul, was the heart of the U.S. operation in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years following the attack on Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda.
All U.S. forces were removed from Bagram Airfield by early July, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin previously reported.
Afghanistan’s vice president makes claim to power
Afghanistan’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, has said in a tweet Tuesday that he is now the country’s “legitimate” leader after President Ashraf Ghani fled its borders.
“As per [the] constitution of Afg, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP becomes the caretaker President,” Saleh wrote. “I am currently inside my country & am the legitimate caretaker President. Am reaching out to all leaders to secure their support & consensus.”
As of Tuesday, it still remains unclear where Ghani is after he fled Afghanistan on Sunday.
Pentagon warns Taliban of swift response to any attack
The Pentagon is warning Tuesday of a swift response to any attack carried out by the Taliban against the mission to evacuate U.S. personnel and Afghan allies from Afghanistan as flights out of Kabul’s airport resumed for operations Tuesday.
The current U.S. mission in Afghanistan was announced by President Biden on Monday, who said it would be “short in time, limited in scope and focused on our objectives: get our people and our allies as quickly and as safely as possible.”
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Taliban fighters are beating people on the way to Kabul airport, source says
An Afghan who is also a former State Department contractor tells Fox News’ Rich Edson that Taliban fighters have established checkpoints throughout Kabul and around the airport.
Some, he said, are beating people on the way to the airport, as images have emerged of a Taliban fighter kicking a man in the face and another whipping people walking by.
When the former contractor encountered a checkpoint, the Taliban guard let him go but warned him not to leave the country: “you can go, don’t run away,” he said.
This is the scene he described at the airport Monday: “There was kids, women, babies, old women, they could barely walk. They [are in a] very, very bad situation, I’m telling you. At the end, I was thinking that there was like 10,000 or more than 10,000 people and they’re running into the airport … The Taliban [were] beating people and the people were jumping from the fence, the concertina wire, and also the wall.”
He now says Taliban are going through neighborhoods looking for those who worked with the U.S. government. He says Taliban fighters were asking his neighbors about him.
US botched Afghanistan reconstruction with ‘staggering’ mistakes, scathing inspector general report
Days after Taliban forces took control of Afghanistan, the U.S. government watchdog agency for the reconstruction effort released a report recapping the “many failures” of the past two decades.
A report issued Tuesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which has examined U.S. progress – or lack thereof – in the region since 2008 identified fundamental problems with the work that was being done on the ground.
“Twenty years later, much has improved, and much has not,” the report read. “If the goal was to rebuild and leave behind a country that can sustain itself and pose little threat to U.S. national security interests, the overall picture is bleak.”
Nearly 20 years since American forces went into Afghanistan in response to the Taliban harboring 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden, the U.S. has spent nearly $1 trillion on war and reconstruction efforts.
Click here to read more.
Tension grips Kabul as Afghan residents living in fear
An Afghan father who is trying to flee from Afghanistan with his family tells Fox News that “we can’t afford to live here under panic and restrictions after the Taliban takeover.”
Rasheed Ali, 28, also said to a Fox News reporter in Kabul that “we slept at the airport and people have no clue where to go.
“Due to the rush there was a suffocation and my wife and child fainted. We are helpless,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Taliban commander tells Fox News that the militant group “had not expected such a huge victory so early.
“We now have the responsibility of the entire country and nation and we will serve and deliver it,” the commander said.
Pentagon in talks with Taliban over evacuation efforts, officials say
Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin is reporting on the latest developments in Afghanistan.
Evacuation flights from Kabul have resumed but “how long they will last rests with the Taliban,” she says.
“Pentagon officials say they are in talks with the Taliban to allow certain categories of individuals – diplomats, journalists and western aid workers through the cordon,” Griffin adds.
A former senior U.S. defense official who has been in contact with American commanders on the ground in Kabul told Fox News’ Bret Baier that “the Taliban have a ring outside of the airport and won’t let anyone inside it.”
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NATO leader: ‘Lessons that need to be learned’ following Taliban takeover
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that “there are lessons that need to be learned” at NATO following the sudden fall of the Afghan government.
Stoltenberg, according to the Associated Press, added that the “Afghan political leadership failed to stand up” and “this failure of Afghan leadership led to the tragedy we are witnessing today.”
He reportedly made the remarks following a meeting with NATO envoys regarding the security implications of the Taliban retaking Afghanistan.
American evacuations by the numbers
A White House official tells Fox News’ Brooke Singman that more than 700 people — including 150 American citizens — have been flown out of Kabul in the last 24 hours as evacuation flights have resumed.
The official said nearly 1,000 American troops have been flown in to join the 3,500 already on the ground and more are expected to arrive in the coming hours.
Meanwhile, the State Department has sent messages to some American citizens in Kabul telling them how to safely assemble at the airport for upcoming departures.
German plane leaves Afghanistan with only 7 evacuees
A German military plane that landed in Kabul Monday as part of the evacuation efforts managed to only get 7 people on board before taking off again, Reuters reports.
“Because of the chaotic circumstances at the [Kabul] airport and regular exchanges of fire at the point of access, it was not ensured that further German nationals and other people to be evacuated would gain access to the airport at all without the protection of the [German military],” its foreign ministry said in a statement to Deutsche Welle in explaining why so few people were picked up.
A second German plane that departed Kabul on Tuesday carried more than 120 people including Germans, Afghans and people from other countries, according to a tweet from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Evacuation flights ongoing out of Kabul
At least 12 military flights carrying evacuees have taken off from Kabul’s airport on Tuesday, a diplomat tells Reuters.
A Western security official on the ground also told the news agency that the number of Afghans on the airport’s runways has thinned out.
“Runway in Kabul international airport is open. I see airplanes landing and taking off,” Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, posted on Twitter.
Taliban have set up a ‘ring’ outside of Kabul airport, official says
A former senior U.S. defense official who has been in contact with American commanders on the ground in Kabul tells Fox News’ Bret Baier that “the Taliban have a ring outside of the airport and won’t let anyone inside it.”
The source said the 82nd Airborne is securing the airport but “the big issue here is that no people outside of the Taliban ring will get in.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told ABC News on Tuesday that the State Department has started giving evacuation orders to Americans in Kabul that previously were advised to shelter in place.
“Our focus militarily is very squarely on the airport, making sure that we can keep it up and running, that we can maintain security and stability there,” Kirby said.
Taliban announces ‘amnesty,’ urges women to join government
The Taliban on Tuesday announced “amnesty” across the country and urged women to join its government in an apparent effort to try and calm nerves across Kabul, the Associated Press reported.
Many in the country are suspicious about the group’s intentions.
A spokesperson for the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement:
“Taliban spokespeople have issued a number of statements in recent days, including pledging an amnesty for those who worked for the previous Government. They have also pledged to be inclusive. They have said woman can work and girls can go to school. Such promises will need to be honoured, and for the time being — again understandably, given past history — these declarations have been greeted with some scepticism. Nevertheless, the promises have been made, and whether or not they are honoured or broken will be closely scrutinized,” the statement read.
Senate Democrat calls for hearings on what went wrong in Afghanistan
Sen. Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for hearings at a later date to learn about what went wrong in Afghanistan but said the focus should now be on evacuations.
The Rhode Island Democrat issued a statement late Monday that said the hearings should take place at the appropriate time. He said the focus at the moment should be squarely on “safely evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghans who aided us.”
Reed said in his statement that he is “deeply concerned” about the humanitarian crisis in the country. His statement also offered up some of his early theories about what went wrong.
He pointed to a “disastrous pivot to a war of choice in Iraq, a failure to have an effective policy to deal with a duplicitous Pakistan, a failure of mission creep from counter-terrorism; and a lack of ability to build an effective Afghan government and security forces.”
Hundreds of Afghans pack military cargo plane leaving Kabul
A military cargo plane leaving Kabul’s international airport late Sunday packed 640 Afghans inside amid unfolding chaos in the country as the Taliban continues to take over.
The C-17 aircraft belonged to the 436th Air Wing, based at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Defense One reported.
The plane was not intended to take such a large load but the hundreds of Afghans pulled themselves onto its open ramp, a defense official told the outlet.
“Approximately 640 Afghan civilians disembarked the aircraft when it arrived at its destination,” the official said.
The crew made the decision to take off instead of trying to force the Afghans off.
George Bush issues statement on Afghanistan with message to US troops, veterans
George Bush, the former president, and his wife Laura Bush, the former first lady, issued a statement late Monday about the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan with a message to U.S. troops, veterans, diplomats and the intelligence community who have served in the country over the past two decades.
“Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible,” the statement read. “And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions.”
Biden points fingers for Afghanistan debacle after promising he wouldn’t ‘blame others’
President Biden appeared to go back on his campaign promise to “take responsibility” as commander-in-chief and not “blame others” during his speech on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that has seen the Taliban swiftly retake control of the country – and outcome Biden previously claimed was “highly unlikely.”
Biden on Monday suggested that the withdrawal debacle was the result of the peace deal he “inherited” from former President Donald Trump and claimed his only options were between “escalating the conflict and sending thousands of American troops back into Afghanistan.”
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H.R. McMaster says Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a result of ‘precipitous withdrawal’
Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster joined ‘The Story with Martha MacCallum’ on Monday and reacted to the hundreds of Afghans running alongside the U.S. Air Force transport plane as it moved down a runway of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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Taliban spokesman refuses to explicitly denounce Al Qaeda in Lara Logan interview
In an exclusive interview with Fox Nation’s Lara Logan, of “Lara Logan Has No Agenda”, the Taliban’s chief spokesman refused multiple attempts by the investigative journalist to give an explicit condemnation of terror group Al Qaeda.
The interview, held only a few weeks before Afghanistan fell to Taliban insurgents over the weekend, will air in its entirety during a larger “No Agenda” special on Afghanistan being simulcast Sunday at 10 PM ET on Fox News Channel and the Fox Nation streaming service.
Click here to read more.
Taliban take over Afghanistan: What we know and what’s next
The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.
The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.
Click here to read more.
Trump calls Biden’s Afghanistan exit plan ‘grossly incompetent’
Former President Trump called the Biden administration’s exit plan from Afghanistan “grossly incompetent” Monday.
“It’s not that we left Afghanistan,” he said through his Save America PAC. “It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!”
The statement came minutes after Biden defended his move to pull American troops out of the country, resulting in the Taliban taking over swaths of land and causing Afghans and government leaders to flee.
Biden cites Trump deal with Taliban as one reason for troop withdrawal
President Biden said he decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan was in part due to a deal former President Trump made with the Taliban.
Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. troops would be out of the country by May 1, 2021, he said.
“US forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country. And the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001,” Biden said Monday from the White House. “The choice I had to make as your President was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season.
“It would’ve been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1,” he added. “There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1.”
Biden tells nation he stands ‘squarely behind’ decision to exit Afghanistan
President Biden addressed the nation Monday, saying he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan after having a presence for 20 years, while admitting that the fall of the country to the Taliban “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
The president, speaking from the White House Monday, said his administration has been “closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” and is moving “quickly” to execute the new plans put in place.
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Biden says chaos unfolding in Afghanistan may be painful for some, particularly veterans
President Biden noted that chaotic scenes unfolding in Afghanistan may be painful for some to watch, particularly veterans.
“The scenes that we’re seeing in Afghanistan, they’re gut-wrenching, particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers, for anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people,” he said. “ For those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, and for Americans who have fought and served in the country, serve our country in Afghanistan. This is deeply, deeply personal.”
Biden places blame of Afghanistan collapse on Afghan military, government leaders
President Biden addressed the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan in a televised address Monday as he faces criticism over the collapse of the country’s government.
Biden criticized the Afghan army and government leaders as Taliban fighters took over nearly the whole country in a matter of days, forcing leaders there to flee.
“Truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” he said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future.”
“American troops cannot, and should not, be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said.
The address comes as chaos continues to unfold at Kabul’s international airport where Afghans rushed the tarmac in an effort to leave the country.
Former Afghan adviser to military says US ‘handed everything over to the Taliban’
A former Afghan adviser to the U.S. military told Fox News on Monday that the United States “handed everything over to the Taliban,” saying Afghanistan was “not ready” for the U.S. presence to be withdrawn.
Ahmad Shah Mohibi, who at the age of 16 assisted the U.S. military in front-line operations and later served as an adviser to the State Department and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told Fox News that the Afghan Security Forces were “ready to fight” but that the environment in Afghanistan was “not ready” to fight without U.S. forces.
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Leon Panetta calls Afghanistan a ‘Bay of Pigs’ moment for Biden
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday the unfolding debacle in Afghanistan was a “Bay of Pigs” moment for President Joe Biden, referring to the ill-fated, U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Biden has come under sharp criticism for the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes control, and Panetta was asked by CNN’s John King what this moment meant for the president.
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French president says Afghanistan must not become ‘haven for terrorists’
French President Emmanuel Macron said Afghanistan must not become a haven for terrorism.
“Afghanistan must not become the haven for terrorists that it once was,” he said during a televised address Monday on French television, France 24 reported. “It is a challenge for peace and international stability, against a common enemy. We will do everything we can so that Russia, the United States and Europe can cooperate efficiently, because our interests are the same.”
President Biden is expected to speak Monday afternoon about the takeover of the country by Taliban fighters as American troops continue to evacuate U.S. personnel.
Afghan woman finds herself in limbo amid Kabul airport chaos
A 22-year-old Afghan woman has found herself in limbo Monday after getting a call that she was on an evacuation list heading to the U.S. or Mexico.
Massouma Tajik, who the Associated Press says works as a data analyst for a U.S. contractor helping Afghan businesses, wasn’t able to board a plane amid the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the evacuations at Kabul’s airport.
“I am in the airport, waiting to get a flight but I don’t know to where,” she said. “I am here, confused, hungry and hopeless. I don’t know what is coming my way. Where will I go? How will I spend my days? Who will support my family?”
Click here to read more about her situation.
Taliban fighters going house to house in Kabul
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin says she has received a first-hand account that Taliban fighters have already started going house to house in Kabul to look for any Afghan Special Forces who fought alongside the U.S. military.
The Taliban, a source tells Fox News, has the records of those who served in the Afghan Special Forces and are going to the homes of those individuals to start seeking retribution.
The source described the mood on the ground in Kabul as sheer terror.
Pentagon leaders repeatedly praised Afghan army that collapsed in days
The Afghan military caved to Taliban pressure, losing control of the country in a swift and devastating fashion that undermined the praise American military leaders have heaped on them over the years.
For years, American generals have claimed that Afghan forces were improving and developing their ability to handle themselves against the Taliban.
Click here to read more from Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer.
Desperate Kabul deals with new Taliban rulers: ‘It’s like Saigon on steroids’
“It’s like Saigon on steroids.” That’s how leading Afghan businessman Saad Mohseni described the scene to us today in Afghanistan. Just hours after the Taliban entered the city completing their lightning-fast takeover of the country.
Throughout the city, according to Fox journalists on the ground, Taliban fighters were seen on the streets, walking and patrolling, driving around in government vehicles, going home to home, basically making their presence known.
For the public, the fighters are putting on an allegedly peaceful face. But most know their extreme fundamentalist rule might be felt soon.
“It looks like a nightmare,” Faridoon Azeen explained in an email to Fox News. He was a U.S. military translator still unable to get a visa out of the country. Now there’s a Taliban checkpoint outside of his apartment window. “I do believe I will be killed if I am captured,” he wrote us.
Click here to read the latest from Fox News’ Greg Palkot.
Map shows Taliban’s advance across Afghanistan
Obama shuts off Instagram comments amid Afghanistan collapse
Commenting on former President Obama’s Instagram page was briefly suspended Monday morning as commenters urged the former president to do something about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Obama has yet to issue a public statement on the rapidly declining situation in Afghanistan, as thousands of people try to flee the country that fell to Taliban rule in a matter of days.
Obama’s Instagram posts said, “Comments on this post have been limited” for roughly two hours Monday morning. His most recent post, a video Thursday touting his All on the Line redistricting campaign, garnered 885 comments before it was shut down Monday.
“Afghanistan needs your help. Please please help Afghanistan,” one commenter wrote.
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Afghan President Ghani made lavish exit, Russia media says
Russia state media is claiming Monday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled his war-torn country yesterday with four cars and a helicopter full of cash.
A report by RIA Novosti quoted embassy spokesperson Nikita Ishchenko as saying that “the collapse of the regime… is most eloquently characterized by how Ghani escaped from Afghanistan: four cars were filled with money, they tried to shove another part of the money into a helicopter, but not everything fit,” according to the Associated Press. “And some of the money was left lying on the tarmac.”
The claims could not be independently verified and Ghani’s official whereabouts remain unknown, despite reports suggesting he fled to either Tajikistan or Uzbekistan, which share borders with northern Afghanistan.
How Taliban’s takeover is going to change the region
Fox News’ Trey Yingst is reporting on the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the region, including Iran and Israel.
“Groups like Al Qaeda now have a number of their top fighters free as a result of the Taliban taking over all of these key provincial capitals that house not only Taliban fighters but also Afghan, Al Qaeda-backed fighters,” he said.
“You see this situation and it really is a recipe for disaster when it comes to terrorism in the region and the security situation in the region,” Yingst added.
Biden orders another 1,000 American troops to Kabul
President Biden is ordering another 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne to Kabul.
A total of 7,000 U.S. troops will be on the ground in Afghanistan soon.
U.S. forces in Kabul kill 2 gunmen, official says
U.S. forces have killed two gunmen who “fired into the crowd” of Afghans at Kabul airport in separate incidents over the past 24 hours, a U.S. official told Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
At least 7 people have been killed at Kabul International Airport Monday, where Afghans have been flocking in desperate attempts to flee the Taliban, reports also say.
Senior U.S. military officials that spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity said the figure includes Afghans seen in social media videos falling from the sky after clinging onto the side of American C-17 plane during takeoff.
President Biden to address situation in Afghanistan this afternoon
President Biden is scheduled to speak at 3:45 p.m. ET today on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, Fox News’ Peter Doocy has confirmed.
Evacuation flights remain halted in Kabul while German planes can’t land
Two German military transport planes that were heading to Afghanistan to assist with evacuations are now stuck in Azerbaijan because of the continued chaos ongoing in Kabul.
The planes that landed in Baku for refueling are staying there for the time being, the Associated Press reported, citing the dpa news agency.
Images and videos coming out of Kabul have shown Afghans swarming the airport’s runways in desperate attempts to flee the Taliban. But the throngs of people have forced evacuation efforts to be put on hold as aircraft no longer have the space to safely arrive and depart.
US warns Taliban not to interfere with Kabul evacuations
The leader of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Frank McKenzie, reportedly has met with Taliban leaders in Qatar to urge their fighters not to interfere with the ongoing U.S. evacuation efforts in Kabul.
An official who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity said McKenzie told the Taliban representatives that the U.S. military would respond forcefully – if necessary – to defend the airport.
Regardless, all U.S. evacuation flights remain suspended in Kabul after hundreds of Afghans flooded the runway Monday, Fox News has confirmed.
Top Biden official admits fall of Afghanistan ‘unfolded at unexpected speed’
White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday acknowledged the security situation in Afghanistan “unfolded at unexpected speed,” while maintaining that President Biden stands by his decision to withdraw U.S. troops.
Heavily armed Taliban fighters swept into Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Sunday after the government collapsed, and the Afghani president fled the country, signaling the end of the United States’ 20-year effort to rebuild the nation after the withdrawal of the U.S. military from the region.
Sullivan, during an appearance on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” Monday defended Biden’s decision to withdraw troops.
“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan said. “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.”
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Video shows Afghans clinging to U.S. Air Force plane
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin is reporting on the situation at Kabul airport after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital.
“There are reports of shots being fired at the Kabul International Airport – tear gas and warning shots to keep people off the runway,” she said. “It’s a real humanitarian crisis right now.”
Click here to watch.
Hamas congratulates Taliban for Afghanistan takeover
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is congratulating the Taliban for their recent takeover of Afghanistan.
In a statement, the militants say they welcome “the defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan land” and praised the Taliban’s “courageous leadership on this victory, which was the culmination of its long struggle over the past 20 years,” according to the AP.
Will Taliban takeover lead to rise in terrorism?
America could face an uptick in terrorist threats following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan.
Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told U.S. senators on Sunday that officials are expected to revise their assessments about the speed of terrorist groups rebuilding in Afghanistan in the wake of the government’s collapse there, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda may now be able to grow faster than expected, the person added.
Click here to read more.
U.S. Embassy flag is flown out of Kabul
Fox News has obtained an image of the U.S. Embassy flag being flown out of Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Embassy in the Afghan capital closed down on Sunday following reports that officials there were destroying sensitive documents and equipment ahead of the Taliban’s arrival.
The Taliban now control Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan.
All U.S. evacuation flights suspended in Kabul, U.S. officials tell Fox News
All U.S. evacuation flights have been suspended at Kabul international airport, Fox News has confirmed.
A U.S. official says the runway is “not secure” after hundreds of Afghans “breached” the airport walls and flooded the runway.
Until the runway is cleared of Afghans desperate to escape following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, all U.S. military and charter flights are suspended, the official said.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul closed Sunday, the flag lowered, after the Taliban marched into the Afghan capital without much resistance seizing it in just one day.
Now the only way for Americans to escape is from the airport in Kabul.
Former Afghan ambassador to US shares message to veterans devastated by Taliban insurgency
Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the U.S. expressed deep gratitude for the troops’ service over the last 20 years, telling Fox News that they provided unprecedented opportunities for Afghans.
Many U.S. veterans of the Afghanistan war have become demoralized and are struggling with their mental health as the Taliban rapidly seized territory throughout the Middle Eastern nation, Fox News reported.
“You made a huge difference … in lives of people you haven’t met and will never meet,” Roya Rahmani said in a message to distraught and frustrated U.S. veterans during her interview with Fox News.
Click here to watch the interview.
Afghans flock to Kabul’s airport
Disturbing scenes at Kabul’s airport
A video is widely circulating on social media Monday morning purportedly showing Afghans clinging onto the side of an American C-17 aircraft leaving Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to flee the Taliban.
Dozens of men could be seen jogging alongside the plane as it was taxiing in preparation
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Kabul airport: 3 killed by gunfire outside terminal building, report says
Three people were killed Monday just outside a terminal at the Kabul International Airport as residents try to flee the country amid the Taliban takeover, a report said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the bodies were discovered just outside the terminal building.
They were apparently victims of gunfire, the report said. Videos that emerged on social media showed hundreds rushing toward the facility with the occasional sound of gunshots.
Reuters, citing a U.S. official, reported that U.S. troops fired shots into the air to prevent hundreds from running onto the tarmac.
All civilian flights have been canceled at the airport.
US troops in Afghanistan fire into air at Kabul airport: report
U.S. forces at Kabul International Airport fired into the air on Monday in an attempt to gain control of the crowd that is desperate to leave the country after the Taliban takeover, a report said.
Reuters, citing a U.S. official, reported that the shots were fired into the air to prevent hundreds from running onto the tarmac.
“The firing was done to defuse the chaos,” the official said.
Morning dawned in the city on Monday and videos were posted on social media that showed hundreds sprinting to the airport. Some were seen running in families with young children with luggage and bags in tow. On one side of the fence, they see life under Taliban rule, on the other, a chance at freedom.
US prepares to house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations
The Department of Defense is preparing to immediately house thousands of Afghan refugees on American military installations, Fox News confirmed late Sunday.
Documents obtained by Fox News show DoD plans to potentially relocate up to 30,000 Afghan SIV applicants into the United States in the immediate future.
“The situation in Afghanistan may lead to DoS [Department of State] allowing Afghan SIV applicants to be moved to temporary housing locations while still being vetted for parolee status,” the document reads.
The bases include Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Fort Bliss in Texas.
“We want to have the capacity to get up to several thousand immediately, and want to be prepared for the potential of tens of thousands,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby told Fox News. “Bliss and McCoy have the capability right now – and what’s advantageous is with a little bit of work, they could increase their capacity in very short order.”
Fall of Kabul an ‘incalculable propaganda victory’ for the Taliban, China: McFarland
K.T. McFarland, former President Trump’s first deputy national security adviser, said in an email to Fox News on Sunday that the Taliban were always focused on the long game and knew that the U.S. would “eventually get fed up” and leave.
She recalled a conversation with a tribal leader about 15 years ago who told her, “We have nowhere else to go.” “We are here forever,” she recalled him saying.
“We don’t have to defeat you, we just have t wait you out.” She said the Biden administration should have known that the conditions would quickly deteriorate and evacuations should have been called earlier.
“Now, we will have to shoot our way out,” she said. “Expect China to formally recognize the Taliban government, and force other nations to do the same,” she said. “It will be an incalculable propaganda victory not just for the Taliban, but for China. China will use our Afghan Fiasco as proof that America is in permanent, inevitable decline while China is on the rise.”
The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital Sunday after the government collapsed and the embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.
McFarland said that there is plenty of blame to go around, “across the board for the entire Republican and Democrat foreign policy establishment.”
“For years they told the America people that victory in Afghan was right around the corner, all they needed was a few billion more, a few years more, a few thousand more troops,” she said. “They lied.”
Macron orders France’s embassy to relocate to Afghanistan’s Kabul Airport
French president Emmanuel Macron has ordered the country’s embassy to relocate to Kabul Airport as it works to evacuate French nationals who remain in Afghanistan. The embassy is working in partnership with the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
“The methodical evacuation of our citizens has been under way for weeks, and a special flight was specifically chartered on July 16 following numerous calls by the Ministry urging our nationals to leave the country,” Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement. “France does not forget those who have worked for her.”
Since May, more than 600 Afghans working for French entities in Afghanistan who could be in danger, as well as their families, have been relocated to France. France’s relocation operation, which began in 2013, has taken in more than 1,350 Afghans to date.
“Despite the rapid pace of events, France intends to do its utmost to continue protecting members of Afghan civil society, rights workers, artists and journalists who are in particular danger due to their activities,” Le Drian’s statement continued. “Everything is currently being done to maintain – to the greatest possible extent – our capacity to issue visas at Kabul Airport, with the help of reinforcements, and enable them to evacuate. France is proving its solidarity with all those who defend freedom.”
In the coming hours, French military forces and aircraft will be deployed to the United Arab Emirates in order to begin initial evacuations to Abu Dhabi.
“France remains in close, constant contact with its European and American partners. It extends its thanks to the Emirati authorities for the facilities they are making available,” Le Drian’s statement concluded. “I want to thank all the employees of our Embassy in Kabul who are a credit to our country and its values under very difficult circumstances, along with all the teams mobilized by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry for the Armed Forces, and our military.”
Dozens of countries call for ‘safe and orderly departure’ of foreign nationals, Afghan refugees
Dozens of countries have called on “all parties to respect and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country” as the Taliban has moved into the country’s capitol of Kabul on Sunday.
“Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order,” the statement reads. “Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained. The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”
The statement was originally signed by Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta , Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Cyprus, Romania, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Togo, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Ukraine, and Yemen.
India’s Afghan Embassy calls president Ashraf Ghani ‘traitor’ who ‘screwed and f***ed everything up’
India’s Afghan Embassy has called out the country’s president Ashraf Ghani a “traitor” who “screwed and f***ed everything up” after he fled from the country on Sunday as the Taliban moved in on the capitol of Kabul.
“We are all banging our heads in shame. Ghani Baba @ashrafghani fled with his crooks. He screwed and f***ed everything up,” the embassy tweeted Sunday evening. “We apologize to everyone for serving the fugitive. May Allah punish the traitor! His legacy will be a stain on our history.”
The Taliban took control of Kabul’s Presidential Palace on Sunday just hours after Ghani’s departure. Following their takeover, hundreds of personnel have been evacuated from the U.S. Embassy.
The personnel, along with Afghan refugees residing in Kabul, have moved to Hamid Karzai International Airport in an effort to flee the country.
Afghanistan war veterans feeling demoralized, struggling with mental health amid US withdrawal
With U.S. troops having left Afghanistan after nearly two decades of fighting in the region, many veterans who served in combat deployments are reportedly struggling with poor mental health and struggling to make sense of it all as they watch the Taliban retake the country.
In an interview with Fox News
, Independence Fund CEO Sarah Verardo said the organization has been fielding a flood of calls from military troop leaders, veterans and spouses who say they are feeling angry, isolated, and demoralized as they watch the latest developments unfold in Afghanistan.
U.S. State Department, Department of Defense to accelerate evacuation for Afghans eligible for visas
The U.S. State Department and Department of Defense announced in a joint statement that they are working to secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan and “enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel” through civilian and military flights.
“Over the next 48 hours, we will have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control,” the agencies said. “Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.”
In addition, U.S. officials will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.
“For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the United States,” officials added. “And we will find additional locations for those yet to be screened.”
Rep. McCaul: Biden ‘gonna have blood on his hands’ for Afghanistan withdrawal
Congressman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Biden is “gonna have blood on his hands” after his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The move has prompted the Taliban to move in on the country’s capital of Kabul.
“This is gonna be a stain on this president and his presidency. And I think he’s gonna have blood on his hands from what they did,” the top-ranking official on the House Affairs Committee told CNN ‘State of the Union’ host Jake Tapper. “They totally blew this one. They completely underestimated the strength of the Taliban.”
McCaul argued that Biden “100 percent” owns the Afghanistan situation.
“Once he made the decision, he could have done certain things. He could have planned for it. He could have had a strategy for this, but instead they had no strategy,” McCaul added.”The consequences from a national security standpoint are severe because now they can say they defeated the United States in Afghanistan, the infidel, just like they defeated the Soviet Union. This will have long-term ramifications.”
Rep. Crenshaw slams Pelosi tweet commending Biden on Afghanistan
Congressman Dan Crenshaw, R-TX., blasted House speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in a tweet Sunday evening for her tweet commending President Biden for “the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action.”
“The President is on vacation while American credibility burns and a fresh terrorist safe haven is born,” Crenshaw replied. “But ok let’s “commend him.””
Crenshaw’s criticism comes as the Taliban has taken over Kabul’s Presidential Palace and hundreds of personnel have evacuated the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Sunday.
In response to the situation, Biden has ordered 6,000 troops to assist on the ground in Afghanistan. General Frank Mckenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, also met with Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar on Sunday to warn them to not attack Americans evacuating Kabul or else the U.S. military would “strike back”
Taliban looking to form ‘open, inclusive Islamic government’ in Afghanistan, spokesperson says
A Taliban spokesman and negotiator told The Associated Press that the militant group is holding talks aimed at forming an “open, inclusive Islamic government” in Afghanistan.
Suhail Shaheen spoke to the outlet after the Taliban overran most of the country in a matter of days and pushed into the capital, Kabul, as the United States scrambled to withdraw diplomats and other civilians.
Al Jazeera, who was given exclusive access to the Taliban’s press conference from Kabul’s Presidential Palace
, released photos of Taliban leaders addressing the media flanked by dozens of armed fighters.
Earlier, a Taliban official said the group would announce a new government from the presidential palace, but those plans appear to be on hold.
Richard Grenell: White House ‘outing Intel officials’ in Afghanistan meeting tweet
Former acting director of U.S. National Intelligence Richard Grenell blasted a tweet from the White House on Sunday which showed a meeting between President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their national security team on the situation in Afghanistan.
The meeting discussed updates on the draw down of civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.
“Who took this picture outing Intel officials?!,” Grenell said. “Dear God.
Biden’s move to withdraw U.S. military presence signals the swift unraveling of the work done over nearly 20 years of war. The U.S. first went to Afghanistan following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, toppling the ruling Taliban who had harbored terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.
On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan was evacuated as the Taliban took over the Presidential Palace in Kabul.
World leaders blame Biden, express disappointment with Afghanistan
World leaders are speaking out about their disappointment with the security situation in Afghanistan, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson going so far as to pin the blame on President Joe Biden and the United States.
Johnson said it was “fair to say the US decision to pull out has accelerated things, but this has in many ways been a chronicle of an event foretold,” but urged western leaders to work together to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a “breeding ground for terrorism.”
“I think it is very important that the West should work collectively to get over to that new government – be it by the Taliban or anybody else – that nobody wants Afghanistan once again to be a breeding ground for terror and we don’t think it is in the interests of the people of Afghanistan that it should lapse back into that pre-2001 status,” Johnson told Sky News.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying he is “heartbroken” by the crisis on the ground and that the government is “constantly monitoring the rapidly evolving situation.” He also noted that the “security and safety” of Canadians in the country remain his top priority, as the country moved to suspended diplomatic operations in Afghanistan and shuttered its embassy in Kabul.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison added that his government would “redouble” efforts to evacuate people in Afghanistan that have aided the Australian effort in the country.
“Our focus now is to ensure that we continue to support those who have aided us and ensuring that 400 people have already been brought to Australia as we have been working on this quite rapidly in recent months as the situation continues to deteriorate,” Morrison said.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib calls for U.S. to open to refugees ‘fleeing the consequences of our actions’
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has called on the U.S. to open its doors to “shelter refugees fleeing the consequences of our actions” in the wake of the Taliban taking control in Afghanistan on Sunday.
She argued the Afghanistan situation is “the horrible consequences of endless war and failed US policy going back to the 1980s when we backed the Taliban against the Soviets.”
“If we don’t start putting everyday people first, no matter what country they’re born in, this will keep happening,” Tlaib said in a series of tweets.”Innocent people suffer the horrors of war while political leaders and arms-dealing corporations sit back and make billions.”
On Sunday, the Taliban took control of Kabul’s Presidential Palace. In addition, personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan are being evacuated.
Trump calls on Biden to ‘resign in disgrace’ over Afghanistan situation
Donald Trump has called on his successor, President Joe Biden, to “resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan” as the Taliban has now taken control over Kabul’s Presidential Palace and the U.S. embassy has been evacuated.
The former president also blamed Biden for a “tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy.”
“It shouldn’t be a big deal, because he wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place!,” Trump added.
Other world leaders have also expressed disappointment in the Afghanistan situation
, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Sen. Blackburn: Afghanistan situation ‘could have been avoided’
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told “Sunday Morning Futures” during an exclusive interview that the situation in Afghanistan “could have been avoided,” arguing that the plan former President Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had in place was “the right way” to handle the region.
Blackburn told host Maria Bartiromo that she is “heartbroken” for the Afghan people and Gold Star Families to witness “20 years of gains go away.”
“We know that the sacrifice there [in Afghanistan] has given us a period where we were not hearing about ISIS attacks and beheadings on the news every night,” she said. “The steps that Secretary Pompeo and President Trump made were able to send the message, ‘If you cross us, there is a price to pay.’”
She added that ‘Joe Biden is weak and they [the Taliban] are not fearing him.”
Mike Pence slams Biden admin’s ‘disastrous’ Afghanistan withdrawal
Former vice president Mike Pence called out the Biden administration on Twitter Sunday evening for its ‘disastrous’ Afghanistan withdrawal.
“The Biden Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan dishonors the memory of those heroic Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion and all who bravely served there defending freedom these past 20 years,” Pence tweeted. “God Bless Our Troops & Our Allies in this Dark Hour.”
His comments came as the Taliban addressed the media on Sunday after taking over the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Personnel from the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan have also been evacuated.
Protesters have gathered in front of the White House and taken to the streets of New York City calling on both the Biden administration and U.N. to take action. The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Afghanistan Monday morning (10 am EDT).
Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace
Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace
Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace
Afghan protesters gather outside of White House as Taliban takes over Kabul’s Presidential Palace
Roughly 300 Afghan protesters have gathered outside the White House on Sunday, carrying signs urging the United Nations to take action on the situation in Afghanistan and calling for an end to violence.
The protest comes as the Taliban addressed the media Sunday after taking over the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan have also been evacuated.
The latest events, which take place as the U.S. withdraws its military presence, signals the swift unraveling of the work done over nearly 20 years of war. The U.S. first went to Afghanistan following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, toppling the ruling Taliban who had harbored terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.
The move coincides with a similar Afghanistan protest taking place in the streets of New York City.
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report
Gloating Taliban commander gives press conference inside Kabul’s Presidential Palace
The Taliban has officially taken over the Presidential Palace in Kabul, according to Al Jazeera.
Taliban leadership addressed the media on Sunday while surrounded by dozens of armed fighters.
Hundreds of U.S. employees evacuated from Afghanistan embassy
Over 500 U.S. employees have been evacuated from the Afghanistan embassy, a defense source tells Fox News
This as President Biden has ordered 1,000 more paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne to assist with evacuation efforts in Kabul.
Two U.S. defense officials tell Fox News that 6,000 U.S. troops will now be on the ground in Afghanistan.
Afghan protesters mobilize outside of U.N., take to NYC streets
Afghan protesters have taken to the streets of New York City, according to video footage shared on Twitter by independent journalist Brendan Gutenschwager.
The protesters, who have mobilized outside of the United Nations, can be heard chanting ‘Please free Afghanistan’
US CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie meets with Taliban leaders
U.S. officials tell Fox News General Frank Mckenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, met with Taliban leaders Sunday in Doha, Qatar to warn them to not attack Americans evacuating Kabul or else the U.S. military would “strike back”
United Nations to hold emergency meeting on Afghanistan
The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Afghanistan Monday morning (10 am EDT) at the request of Estonia and Norway.
Council diplomats said Sunday that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief council members on the latest situation following the Taliban takeover of the capital, Kabul.
The U.N. chief on Friday had urged the Taliban to immediately halt their offensive in Afghanistan and negotiate “in good faith” to avert a prolonged civil war. He also said he is “deeply disturbed by early indications that the Taliban are imposing severe restrictions in the areas under their control, particularly targeting women and journalists.
Taliban officials: there will be no transitional government in Afghanistan
Two Taliban officials told Reuters on Sunday there would be no transitional government in Afghanistan and that the group expects a complete handover of power.
President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan after Taliban fighters entered the capital Kabul earlier on Sunday, capping their return to power two decades after being forced out by U.S.-led forces.
The government’s acting interior minister, Abdul Sattar Mirzakawal, had said that power would be handed over to a transitional administration.
Taliban to declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan this evening
A Taliban official says the group will soon declare the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul.
That was the name of the country under the Taliban government ousted by U.S.-led forces after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media.
The group posted to Twitter an image of leaders sitting at President Ashraf Ghani’s desk.
U.S. embassy lowers flag as operations move to Kabul airport
The U.S. embassy finished its evacuation and lowered the American flag as officials moved operations to the Kabul airport, two sources familiar with the situation told Fox News.
The government and aid organizations are scrambling to get a slew of citizens – including diplomats, dual nationals, aid workers and others – out of the country.
France similarly moved operations from its long-standing embassy to the airport as it attempted to move citizens out of Afghanistan, with the temporary destination of Abu Dhabi.
The sources also indicated that officials expect the Taliban to occupy the presidential palace, raise their flag and declare the emirate this evening.
Fox News’ Rich Edson contributed to this report.
Defense Secretary blames Afghan collapse on lack of “willpower,” “leadership” during call Sunday
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin laid the blame for the collapse of the Afghan forces on a lack of “willpower” and “leadership” during an all House member call, a member of Congress told Fox News.
The call, which occurred around 9 a.m. Sunday morning, lasted half an hour and included Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.
Austin said that the Afghan army had “all the advantages,” including three times as many troops and twenty years of training, but that “you can’t buy willpower and can’t buy leadership.” He added that he was “beyond disappointed” that the Afghan military offered “zero resistance” in most places.
Members of Congress raised concerns over the equipment and weapons the U.S. provided to the Afghan military, which members now fear are in Taliban hands. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was reportedly “livid” over the situation.
Blinken indicated that the U.S. has prepared for all scenarios, including the one playing out in the country right now.
Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.
Afghan security forces surrender Bagram air base to Taliban
Afghan security forces have turned over Bagram air base to the Taliban, district chief Darwaish Raufi confirmed to the Associated Press.
The former U.S. base also serves as a prison, which held around 5,000 inmates from both the Taliban and Islamic State.
Meanwhile, Afghan leaders have created a coordination council to meet with the Taliban and manage the transfer of the power “to prevent chaos and reduce the suffering of the people.”
U.S. embassy in Afghanistan advises Americans to ‘shelter in place’ as Kabul airport under fire
The U.S. embassy issued new guidance for American citizens attempting to flee the country as the Taliban take control of the government.
Previously, nationals were told to head to the Kabul airport, but the embassy advised that the airport was now “taking fire,” and the security situation has changed.
“We are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” a statement from the embassy read.
The embassy also posted a Repatriation Assistance Request form and advised U.S. citizens to not call the embassy for updates or details on flights.
Sen. Joni Ernst: Biden must be clear about threat, never forget US troops’ sacrifices
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-IA, wrote the following op-ed:
The news out of Afghanistan is grim. The Taliban are rapidly advancing across the country and are reportedly in the capital city. Huge swaths of Afghanistan are now controlled by Taliban fighters.
Afghan Security Forces are melting away at first contact and giving up city centers and provincial capitals. U.S. equipment intended to help a burgeoning Afghan government is instead being captured and used by our adversaries.
Brave Afghans and their families who supported our mission are being hunted and slaughtered. Women and girls who were just starting to enjoy their freedoms are again faced with oppression and subjugation by a ruthless Taliban regime.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees country
Afghan President Ghani has fled the country, Fox News has confirmed.
“That’s it. It’s over,” a U.S. official said.
TOLO News first reported Ghani’s departure.
Biden officials to brief US House of Representatives
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley are briefing the U.S. House of Representatives at 9:45 a.m. ET.
The virtual briefing on the situation in Afghanistan is open to all House members.
European diplomats prepare to evacuate as Taliban enter Kabul
European officials move to secure diplomats and nationals still in Afghanistan as the Taliban advance into the nation’s capital. In some cases, the evacuations include Afghan nationals who assisted the various nations in their diplomatic missions.
German news agency dpa reported Sunday that the German military is sending transport planes to ferry evacuees from Kabul to a base in Central Asia.
Meanwhile, Italian media reported Sunday that most personnel at the Italian embassy will be transferred to the capital’s airport for evacuation. Italy’s defense minister has said that 228 Afghans and their families have already been transferred to Italy, calling it a “moral duty” to protect those who had worked with Italy and who would face reprisals by the Taliban.
The U.K.’s ambassador to Afghanistan is being airlifted out by Monday evening while the defense ministry deploys 600 troops to help evacuate some 3,000 nationals.
Czech Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar said his government will help those Afghans who worked with Czech troops during their deployment in NATO missions.
US embassy in Kabul to close soon, official says
The full evacuation and closure of the U.S. embassy in Kabul is expected, “any day now,” a U.S. defense official tells Fox News.
“We are going to do whatever we need to do to protect our people,” the official said Sunday.
The Pentagon is weighing sending additional troops to Kabul to help secure the airport on top of the 5,000 announced by President Biden yesterday.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.
US evacuating staff from Kabul embassy that could close ‘any day now’: officials
The U.S. has started evacuating embassy staff in Kabul, officials confirm to Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson.
The U.S. Embassy remains open, but could close “any day now,” one official said now that Kabul is surrounded by the Taliban and video on social media shows some fighters entering the Afghan capital.
Flights of American diplomat personnel back to the United States from Kabul have also started, the official added.
Taliban negotiators heading to presidential palace to prepare for a ‘transfer’ of power: AP
An Afghan official has told the Associated Press that Taliban negotiators were heading to the presidential palace in Kabul to prepare for a ‘transfer’ of power on Sunday.
Taliban enter Kabul outskirts, await ‘peaceful transfer’ of Afghanistan capital
Taliban fighters entered the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday, with a spokesman for the terror organization saying they were expecting a “peaceful transfer” of Afghanistan’s capital city to their control.
Spokesman Suhail Shaheen made the remarks to the Al-Jazeera English news channel in Qatar, according to The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry of neighboring Uzbekistan claimed Sunday that 84 Aghan government military personnel had crossed into that country, seeking assistance as the Taliban continues to make gains ahead of a scheduled final pullout of U.S.-NATO forces.
Afghanistan President Ghani makes first national address since Taliban advance
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said the country is in “danger of instability” Saturday as the Taliban continued its advance on the capital, according to BBC News.
He also appealed for international help in his first public address since the Taliban intensified its efforts this week.
Ghani is backed by the U.S.
Nancy Pelosi requests briefing
The Biden Administration will brief House members on Afghanistan virtually Sunday morning following a request by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and will be over unclassified material, according to reports.
An in-person classified briefing on the situation will reportedly be held next week.
Sen. Cotton slams Afghanistan chaos
“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted,” Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said in a statement Saturday evening. “Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul. At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans. Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”
Former CIA director General Petraeus calls situation in Afghanistan ‘catastrophic’
Former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus called the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan “disastrous” and “catastrophic” for not only the U.S. but the world, in a Saturday interview.
“This is an enormous national security set back and it is on the verge of getting much worse unless we decide to take really significant action,” Petraeus told Rita Cosby on “The Rita Cosby Show” on WABC Radio.
Taliban executions, beheadings in Afghanistan strike fear among those stuck inside country
Afghan citizens face executions, forced marriages and other possible war crimes as the Taliban sweeps across the country, wrestling control from ineffective government forces as the U.S. troop withdrawal nears, according to U.S. officials and watchdog groups.
Sen. Mitt Romney ‘cannot understand’ hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan
“I understand but disagree with those who felt we should leave Afghanistan,” the Utah Republican tweeted Saturday evening. “I cannot understand why it has been done with such tragic human cost; without an effective strategy to defend our partners; and with inestimable shock to our nation’s credibility, reliability, and honor.”
The message comes has the Taliban has seized control of more than two thirds of the country, facing ineffective resistance from Afghan government forces, and the U.S. prepares to withdraw by the end of the month.
The State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Saturday about the Taliban’s violent offensive.
“They discussed the urgency of ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the violence,” a spokesperson said. “The Secretary emphasized the United States’ commitment to a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan and our continuing support for the people of Afghanistan.”
1,000 paratroopers from 82nd Airborne heading to Kabul: officials
The 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade will send 1,000 paratroopers to Kabul next week to reach the White House’s goal of 5,000 troops in the city to protect the evacuation of U.S. personnel, Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports.
There were already 1,000 U.S. service members on the ground, according to defense officials. Another 3,000 Marines and soldiers will be in place by the end of the week.
The remaining two battalions of the 82nd Airborne Brigade Combat Team will stage in Kuwait as a ready reserve.
State Department ‘exploring options’ for Americans looking to escape Afghanistan
The U.S. embassy in Kabul sent a bulletin to Americans in Afghanistan Saturday informing them of repatriation assistance for U.S. citizens looking to leave the country as commercial flights are booked solid.
The aid is available for U.S. citizens and their spouses and children, the parents of minors who are citizens and, pending availability, lawful permanent residents.
Biden announces a 5,000 troop deployment to Afghanistan to ensure ‘orderly and safe’ drawdown
President Biden has released a lengthy statement on the crisis in Afghanistan. He announces a deployment of 5,000 U.S. troops to the country to ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown.
He also blames President Trump for the current situation, saying he “inherited” a deal “that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US forces.”
“I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” he says.
Full statement here:
“Over the past several days I have been in close contact with my national security team to give them direction on how to protect our interests and values as we end our military mission in Afghanistan.
First, based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military, and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 US troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of US personnel and other allied personnel and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped our troops during our mission and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.
Second, I have ordered our armed forces and our intelligence community to ensure that we will maintain the capability and the vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan.
Third, I have directed the Secretary of State to support President Ghani and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement. Secretary Blinken will also engage with key regional stakeholders.
Fourth, we have conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, via our Combatant Commander, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts US personnel or our mission at risk there, will be met with a swift and strong US military response.
Fifth, I have placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a whole of government effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and other Afghan allies. Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk. We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families.
That is what we are going to do. Now let me be clear about how we got here.
America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda. And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of US troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat.
Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history. One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.
When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew US forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”
Meghan McCain torches Biden admin for welcoming ‘ISIS 3.0’ with Afghan withdrawal
Former “View” co-host Meghan McCain went on a tear against the Biden administration Friday over the turbulent U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan – as the Taliban continued to gain more ground in the war-torn nation.
Reports that the capital city of Kabul could fall any day to the terrorist organization have sparked a panic in Washington with the Pentagon rushing 3,000 troops to help evacuate U.S. personnel from the American Embassy. McCain torched the execution of the military withdrawal and the turmoil that has been caused on the ground, taking a swipe at President Biden.
“Even if you thought leaving Afghanistan was the right decision -this is a reckless, dangerous, blundering, and embarrassing withdrawal,” McCain began a series of tweets. “We left our translators, women, children, people who helped us for 20 years to be slaughtered & our president just called a lid until Wednesday.”
Afghanistan’s embattled President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said he has started consultations on how to unite the country after the Taliban have seized large parts of the country ahead of the U.S. withdrawal.
“As a historic responsibility, I am trying to not let the war that has been imposed on the Afghan people cause the further killing of innocents, the loss of 20 years of achievement, the destruction of public institutions and longstanding instability,” Ghani said in a video message, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Taliban has advanced through major cities including Herat and Kandahar, and control about 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. It is raising concerns that Kabul, held by the Western backed government, could fall soon.
McCarthy calls Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal an ’embarrassment to our nation’
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has slammed President Biden’s “complete mismanagement” of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and called for the U.S. military to continue to provide “close air support” to combat the surging Taliban forces.
McCarthy spoke to Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Adela Raz, on Friday and then lashed out at the Biden administration.
“The White House has no discernable plan other than pleading with the Taliban,” McCarthy said in a statement late Friday. “The bungled withdrawal, reminiscent of his failed withdrawal from Iraq, is an embarrassment to our nation.”
McCarthy said Biden must not abandon allies.
“President Biden must continue to provide the close air support necessary for the Afghan government to protect themselves from the Taliban and make sure al Qaeda and ISIS do not gain a foothold due to the Biden administration’s disastrous policies,” the top House Republican said.
Click for more here:
McConnell pushes Biden to ‘hammer’ Taliban with airstrikes as Afghanistan spirals
ICYMI: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Friday pressed President Biden to order airstrikes against Taliban forces following what he described as an “urgent conversation” with Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Adela Raz.
McConnell and other GOP figures have accused the Biden administration of botching a planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in recent days. In a scathing statement, the Kentucky senator said the situation in Afghanistan was a “debacle” that was prompting a humanitarian crisis.”
“The Administration should move quickly to hammer Taliban advances with airstrikes, provide critical support to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) defending the capital, and prevent the seemingly imminent fall of the city.”
White House releases image of Biden’s video conference on Afghanistan
The White House has released an image of President Biden’s national security meeting on the efforts in Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Haiti.
“This morning, the President and Vice President held a video conference with the national security team to discuss the ongoing efforts to draw down our civilian footprint in Afghanistan. In addition, the President and Vice President were briefed on the earthquake in Haiti,” the White House said.
Another Afghanistan city falls to the Taliban
The Associated Press reports that Mazar-e-Sharif, the fourth-largest city in Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban on Saturday.
Lawmaker Abas Ebrahimzada said the province’s national army corps surrendered first, which prompted the pro-government militias and other forces to lose morale and give up in the face of the Taliban onslaught, the outlet reported.
The provincial installations, including the governor’s office, are now under the control of the Taliban, the lawmaker said.
It is the latest dramatic advance by the Taliban ahead of the U.S. withdrawal of the last of its troops in less than three weeks.
The Taliban has advanced through major cities including Herat and Kandahar, and control about 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. The western-backed government now holds Kabul and a smattering of other provinces.
Biden, Harris hold video conference with national security team on Afghanistan
A White House official tells Fox News that President Biden and Vice President Harris held a secure video conference with the national security team to discuss “the ongoing efforts to drawdown our civilian footprint in Afghanistan, evacuate SIV applicants, and monitor the evolving security situation.”
The officials says Biden and Harris were joined by the secretaries of State and Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the chief of staff, the national security advisor and homeland security advisor.
Second group of Marines arrives in Kabul ahead of full evacuation
From Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson: A second group of U.S. Marines have arrived at Kabul international airport on Saturday to begin evacuating Americans, a Pentagon spokesman tells Fox News.
Up to 3,000 U.S. troops, including a U.S. Army battalion, are expected to arrive by the end of the weekend.
Fox News has learned the U.S. military is preparing for a full evacuation from Kabul and closure of the U.S. embassy, if ordered by the State Department. For now, the embassy remains open.
Taliban approach Kabul’s outskirts, attack north Afghan city
The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords, Afghan officials said.
The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.
The Taliban captured all of Logar province, just south of the capital, Kabul, and detained local officials, said Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province. She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of Kabul.
Afghan president vows to “not give up” on achievements as U.S. troops arrive for evacuations
Around 3,000 troops will arrive in Kabul over the next 24 hours as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vows to “not give up” on achievements, Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson reports.
The Taliban have the capital surrounded after insurgents claimed control over half the provincial capitals in the country.
The U.S. has invested $85 billion in the Afghan army, but that investment has failed to return dividends that officials had hoped for as the country’s situation continues to crumble.
The troops will help evacuate thousands of Americans from the embassy as officials destroy sensitive documents ahead of the evacuation.
The Pentagon has refused to call the operation a combat mission.
Taliban seize province near capital, attack northern city
The Taliban seized a province just south of Afghanistan’s capital and launched a multi-pronged assault early Saturday on a major city in the north defended by powerful former warlords, Afghan officials said.
The insurgents have captured much of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in a breakneck offensive less than three weeks before the United States is set to withdraw its last troops, raising fears of a full militant takeover or another Afghan civil war.
The Taliban captured all of Logar and detained its provincial officials, Hoda Ahmadi, a lawmaker from the province, said Saturday.
She said the Taliban have reached the Char Asyab district, just 11 kilometers (7 miles) south of the capital, Kabul.The Taliban also attacked the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif from several directions, setting off heavy fighting on its outskirts, according to Munir Ahmad Farhad, a spokesman for the provincial governor. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Former Navy SEAL says US policy in Afghanistan has been ‘like a Star Trek cosplay convention’ since
Blackwater founder Erik Prince condemned the potential collapse of Afghanistan, following orders by the Biden administration for a troop withdrawal by the end of the month, saying the Taliban’s increasing resurgence is the product of 20 years of failed military policy.
Prince, a retired Navy SEAL who served in the Middle East, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that “half-baked politicians” in Washington are to blame for what is happening in Afghanistan.
“It’s the same collection of national security elites in Washington that has failed for that entire 20 years. They took what was a brilliant victory by special operations and the CIA and the first six months after 9/11 and turned it into a massive failed nation-building exercise,” Prince said.
The U.N. Security Council is mulling a statement that would condemn the Taliban’s offensive in Afghanistan and warn that it would not support a government imposed by force or the restoration of the Taliban’s failed state, which lasted from 1996 until the U.S. invasion after Sept. 11, 2001, according to the Associated Press, which obtained a draft of the document.
It follows a statement from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging the Taliban to step off the battlefield and back to the negotiating table, even as the Islamist militants are sweeping through the country and seizing tracts of territory from government forces.
Sen. Joni Ernst, first female combat vet in Senate, laments Afghan collapse
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, condemned the potential collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban, as the insurgent group gains control of one provincial capital after another in short order ahead of President Biden’s August 31 troop withdrawal date.
Pentagon pressed on whether Taliban has advantage in Afghanistan
The Afghan military needs to step up its efforts to counter the Taliban’s rapid expansion of territorial control in Afghanistan, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said during a news briefing Friday.
US officials in Afghanistan are destroying sensitive docs at embassy in Kabul
As the Taliban closes in on the Afghan capital city of Kabul, sources have told Fox News that officials are destroying sensitive documents and equipment at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
US military to help evacuate Americans from embassy in Kabul: officials
The U.S. military will help evacuate Americans from the embassy in Kabul as the security situation deteriorates across Afghanistan, two officials confirmed Thursday to Fox News. The plans to evacuate the Americans were briefed to President Biden earlier Thursday in order to get his approval, one official added. The military will evacuate “thousands” of American citizens and Afghan interpreters from Kabul.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby pushed back against comparisons between the current situation in Afghanistan to the fall of Saigon in 1975 during a news conference Friday.
“We’re not focused on the history of the Vietnam War,” he said.
He also said he had no “crystal ball” and could not predict whether the Afghan government would succumb to Taliban offensives tearing across the country. However, he vowed that the U.S. would ensure that a terrorist threat would not reemerge in the region.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said U.S. air support was still an option to fight Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan but that Afghan forces would be the determining factor as the Taliban sweeps across the country and the U.S. draws down its military presence.
“It’s indigenous forces that can make the difference on the ground,” he said in a Friday afternoon news briefing.
But later in the news conference, he added: “We have noted with great concern the speed with which they have been moving and the lack of resistance that they have faced.”
He also said the Taliban is trying to “isolate” Kabul, the Afghan capital, but the city is not under imminent threat at the moment as the U.S. military assists State Department personnel in getting out.
KT McFarland: Afghanistan embassy situation is ‘completely desperate’
The former deputy national security adviser discusses President Biden’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the larger foreign policy ramifications.
Biden State Department official deletes tweet about Afghan women
A senior Biden administration State Department official quickly deleted a tweet she posted warning that Afghan women “stand to lose everything” as the Taliban surges toward Kabul.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery posted a tweet early Friday morning as the Taliban continues to gain territory and power amid the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Woke up with a heavy heart, thinking about all the Afghan women and girls I worked with during my time in Kabul,” Montgomery wrote. “They were the beneficiaries of many of the gains we made, and now they stand to lose everything.”
Montgomery deleted the tweet soon after posting it. A spokesperson for the State Department told Fox News in a Friday email statement that Montgomery “deleted the tweet on her own volition.”
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NATO leader speaks out about situation in Afghanistan
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, following a meeting with NATO ambassadors, told reporters Friday that the “allies are deeply concerned about the high levels of violence caused by the Taliban’s offensive, including attacks on civilians, targeted killings, and reports of other serious human rights abuses,” according to the Associated Press.
He added that “the Taliban need to understand that they will not be recognized by the international community if they take the country by force,” and that NATO is “committed to supporting a political solution to the conflict.”
Internally displaced Afghans from northern provinces, who fled their home due to fighting between the Taliban and Afghan security personnel, take refuge in a public park in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.
Mike Pompeo: US needs to pivot to two things to make this work
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an opinion column for FoxNews.com, gives his thoughts on what the U.S. now needs to do in Afghanistan.
“First, reduce the threat from radical Islamic terror in that country and make sure that we do all we can to prevent a repeat of the events, now almost exactly 20 years ago, that killed 3,000 people in the United States,” he says. “Second, get our brave young soldiers, airmen and Marines home and focus on terror all around the world and the great power struggle emanating from China.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
U.S. Marines heading to Kabul while fighting reported to be taking place 30 miles outside of it
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson is reporting that the first of three infantry battalions (two Marine Corps, one Army) are now in the air heading to Kabul from their pre-staged base in Kuwait.
A total 3,000 Marines and soldiers will be landing at Kabul’s international airport in the coming hours.
When asked how soon Kabul could fall, a U.S. defense official tells Fox News, “It could be tomorrow,” and then added, “or it could be a month.” Fierce fighting is now taking place 30 miles outside Kabul, the official added.
While there are no plans to close the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and evacuate all Americans right now, the U.S. military is preparing for that order to be given, the official said.
A former U.S. military official with years of combat time in Afghanistan was more blunt in his assessment and recommended to Fox News the following: “I would pull every American out of Afghanistan and then level the U.S. embassy.”
Former CIA Station Chief weighs in on future of Afghanistan, Kabul
Former CIA Station Chief Dan Hoffman told “America’s Newsroom” Friday that Kabul will be under siege within days and that the Biden administration did not plan effectively.
“Those major cities are falling like dominoes. Kabul is going to be under siege within days, probably, and so we have to factor in now the likelihood that Al Qaeda will homestead with even greater impunity on the territory that the Taliban controls,” he said.
“We need to have a new plan for how we’re going to defend ourselves in the region, starting with our embassy and beyond here in the homeland from the attacks that Al Qaeda will plan on that ungoverned space,” he added. “There’s no question that the Biden administration did not plan effectively. The evidence of that is clear.”
Click here to watch the interview.
A Taliban fighter stands guard over surrendered Afghan security member forces in the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday.
Germany reducing Kabul embassy staff while Denmark, Norway announce closures
A number of European countries are announcing changes to their current embassy operations in Kabul as the security situation is rapidly deteriorating in the Afghan capital.
Germany’s foreign minister says a “crisis support team” is being sent to Kabul to ramp up security at their embassy there while its staffing will be curtailed to “the operationally necessary, absolute minimum,” according to the Associated Press.
Denmark and Norway say their embassies will be closed, as all three countries are making plans to evacuate staff.
Taliban make territorial gains while nearing Kabul
The capitals of Helmand, Zabul, Uruzgan and Ghor provinces are now reported to be under Taliban control Friday as the resurgent militant group’s blitz across Afghanistan appears to be showing no signs of slowing down.
With these captures, the Taliban have taken over half of the war-torn country’s 34 provincial capitals, including Herat and Kandahar — the second and third largest cities in Afghanistan.
The Taliban are now said to be within 50 miles of Kabul, the capital and largest city in Afghanistan.
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Gen. Keane: Biden’s ill-conceived Afghanistan withdrawal now an ’embarrassing retreat’
Fox News senior strategic analyst Gen. Jack Keane is blaming the Biden administration’s “hasty withdrawal” from Afghanistan for the Taliban’s takeover of large swaths of the country, telling “Fox & Friends” Friday the “ill-conceived” agenda has become a foreign policy “embarrassment” for the White House.
Click here to watch the interview.