The Biden administration has acknowledged that at least dozens and possibly hundreds of Americans remain stuck in Afghanistan, along with many Afghans who worked for the U.S. government during a decades-long war effort there.
In response, private citizens have stepped forward to launch a rescue effort. However, a top leader in the initiative says the Biden State Department is standing in the way.
According to Fox News, Rick Clay leads Plan B, an organization devoted to evacuating American citizens and Afghan special immigrant visa holders.
State Department delay
Clay told the network Sunday that private planes his group has chartered are waiting at Kabul’s airport because the State Department will not clear them to leave.
While the planes are set take off for Doha, Qatar, Fox says it obtained an email in which military officials there told Plan B that State Department approval is needed before they can be allowed to land.
“If we can get aircraft in and pick up people and bring them out, why can’t we take them to Doha to the refugee center or other refugee centers?” Clay complained to the network. “This makes no sense. We still have Americans we can get out,” he said.
“It is imperative that we get into Doha where there [are] other refugee centers,” Clay added. “That is where I’ve asked for clearance.”
Blood on Biden admin’s hands
Clay went on to present Fox with messages from people who he says are on his group’s rescue list. One reportedly read: “Please save us as soon as possible. My family and I are facing a lot of problems. My children’s health is deteriorating day by day due to many worries.”
“On the other hand, there are reports that the Taliban have recruited people in the Ministry of Technology and Communications to find people who will cooperate with US forces,” the message went on, according to Fox. “If they find out anything about me, they will kill me and my family.”
Fox News said it also spoke with two other individuals associated with the evacuation effort who requested that their identities be kept confidential.
“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands,” one of the anonymous sources said. “The blood is on their hands. It is not the Taliban that is holding this up — as much as it sickens me to say that — it is the United States government.”
Fox reported separately that Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (AR) and Ron Johnson (WI) along with Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) are working to help Plan B get the necessary approval to being moving people out of Afghanistan, with Blumenthal even said to be “furious” over the delay.