Joe Biden and his administration certainly don’t, and their allies in the media have largely refrained from reporting it — until now in this story from the Associated Press Americans and legal permanent residents abandoned by Joe Biden in his disgraceful bug-out have gone into hiding, and the State Department has largely gone silent. Those left behind by Biden et al have to change locations every few days and hide out from the Taliban, who actively seek them out:
Through messages, emails and phone conversations with loved ones and rescue groups, AP has pieced together what day-to-day life has been like for some of those left behind after the U.S. military’s chaotic withdrawal — that includes U.S. citizens, permanent U.S. resident green-card holders and visa applicants who aided U.S. troops during the 20-year war.
Those contacted by AP — who are not being identified for their own safety — described a fearful, furtive existence of hiding in houses for weeks, keeping the lights off at night, moving from place to place, and donning baggy clothing and burqas to avoid detection if they absolutely must venture out.
All say they are scared the ruling Taliban will find them, throw them in jail, perhaps even kill them because they are Americans or had worked for the U.S. government. And they are concerned that the Biden administration’s promised efforts to get them out have stalled.
The Taliban are looking for them in earnest, too:
When the phone rang in an apartment in Kabul a few weeks ago, the U.S. green card holder who answered — a truck driver from Texas visiting family — was hopeful it was the U.S. State Department finally responding to his pleas to get him and his parents on a flight out.
Instead, it was the Taliban.
“We won’t hurt you. Let’s meet. Nothing will happen,” the caller said, according to the truck driver’s brother, who lives with him in Texas and spoke to him afterwards. The call included a few ominous words: “We know where you are.”
That family took the call as a warning and fled to another location before they could find out whether the caller was bluffing. One has to wonder, though, how many others might have decided in desperation to meet with the Taliban as a way to get out. Perhaps none, but perhaps some did. The one thing we do know is that the Taliban hasn’t allowed any more Americans to leave since the flight out of Mazar-e-Sharif a week ago.
That raises some chilling possibilities. The best explanation is that the Taliban’s too incompetent to find any of the thousands of Americans (citizens and LPRs) Biden left behind, which seems possible but unlikely. The worst explanation is that they’re killing Americans and LPRs quietly as a security risk, but that also seems unlikely. These abandoned Americans have great public-relations and/or financial value to the Taliban, either as hostages or prisoners to be executed, in the competitive environment between radical-Islamist networks that has erupted since the collapse in Afghanistan.
Antony Blinken, his flack Ned Price, and Biden all claim to have some mystical form of leverage over the Taliban to force them into sending Americans back unharmed. Price stumbled through a press briefing earlier this week trying to defend that position, but even the United Nations calls it nonsense. Also earlier this week, human rights chief Michele Bachelet pointed out that the Taliban has been conducting house-to-house searches looking for collaborators, dissidents, and other enemies real and imagined:
My Office has received credible allegations of reprisal killings of a number of former ANSF personnel, and reports of civilians who worked for previous administrations and their family members being arbitrarily detained. In some cases, the officials were released, and in others, they were found dead.
In addition, we have received multiple allegations of the Taliban conducting house-to-house searches looking for specific government officials and people who cooperated with US security forces and companies. These searches have reportedly taken place throughout the city of Kabul, as well as Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e-Sharif, Gardez, Maimana, Samangan and elsewhere. A number of similar incidents have affected UN staff, who report increasing attacks and threats. …
A growing number of protests have taken place in Kabul and Ghor, Ghazni, Takhar, Herat, Niimroz and Balkh provinces. Taliban forces have reportedly used increasing violence against protesters and journalists, including live ammunition, batons and whips. On 7 September, two men were shot and killed, and seven others wounded during a protest in Herat. That same day in Kabul, reports indicate that protestors were beaten, and that several women and up to 15 journalists were detained. On 8 September, during a protest in Kabul, the Taliban detained at least five journalists and severely beat two of them for several hours.
The lack of promised leverage is hardly the worst of the Biden response. His administration, eager to put the disgrace out of mind, keeps changing the subject to nearly anything else. (Price tried changing it to North Korea in the briefing, a measure of the administration’s desperation on this point.) The national media has, with some exceptions, collaborated with the White House to all but ignore the massive abandonment of American civilians to an enemy in the field at the end of a war, a move without precedent in US history.
All of that has led to despair from the Americans that Biden and the media want to forget. Remember this the next time Price, Blinken, or Biden attempt to trot out their lame spin about Americans who wanted to leave largely got out:
“I don’t see the U.S. government stepping in and getting them out anytime soon,” said the children’s elementary school principal, Nate McGill, who has been exchanging daily texts with the family.
Sadly, it has become crystal clear that this administration has no interest in getting them out. They didn’t have any qualms about leaving them behind in the first place. Kudos to the Associated Press and their reportorial team headed by Bernard Condon and Julie Watson for this deep dive on their peril. One does have to wonder, though, why this ran on a Saturday morning, and why the rest of the media hasn’t even bothered to report on this in a serious manner at all.