No ‘reliable means’ to confirm Taliban holding Americans, State Department says

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill on Sunday that it does not have “reliable means” to determine whether the Taliban is holding American citizens in the country and refusing to let them leave, even as the top Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee reports that planes are sitting on an airport runway for days and that the Taliban is making demands in order to let them leave.

The State Department claims that it has no information on the ground about conditions in Kabul following the departure of the military from the country.

“Given these constraints, we also do not have a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights, including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on-board, the accuracy of the rest of the manifest, and where they plan to land, among many other issues,” the spokesperson said.

“We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan,” he added.

State Department sticking its head in the sand

The State Department still plans to hold the Taliban to its word about releasing Americans, and reminded them that the “international community is watching” to see whether their deeds would match their words.

Are these empty words supposed to assuage the American people about the fate of Americans still left in Kabul? We are apparently supposed to believe the State Department is just helpless to get any information from Afghanistan when there are CIA assets on the ground and any number of other sources of intelligence the U.S. can draw from to keep abreast of the situation.

If a member of the House can get intel on the Taliban holding hostages, the State Department certainly can as well. It just doesn’t want to, because claiming ignorance means it doesn’t have to do anything about the situation.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday that six airplanes have been sitting at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport in northern Afghanistan for several days and have been prevented from leaving Afghanistan by the Taliban. 

Here’s what others know

McCaul also said that the Taliban is “holding them hostage for demands right now” and that the flights had been cleared by the State Department to fly into the U.S.

If McCaul’s information is true, then the State Department knows full well what’s going on and just doesn’t want to acknowledge it to the American public.

McCaul also claims that “hundreds” of Americans are still in Afghanistan, while the Biden administration has said that it is probably less than 100.

In any case, 100 hostages is still way too many, and the fact that the State Department won’t acknowledge them is just further proof that they don’t care about Americans if it makes them look bad or hurts Biden politically, since he promised in August that the military would not leave Afghanistan until all the Americans were out.

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