In the aftermath of a chaotic evacuation effort in Afghanistan, reports suggested that private charter jets have been prevented from taking off with Americans and allies aboard.
Now, a leaked email appears to reveal that the Department of State has obstructed those private evacuation flights by refusing to grant the necessary permission for the jets to land in other countries.
Evacuation flights grounded
According to reports, the revelation appears to bolster earlier claims that the Biden administration had been obstructing efforts to assist stranded Americans and Afghans while contradicting the White House’s repeated claims that it is doing everything possible to facilitate such evacuations.
Some of the passenger jets said to be grounded at the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif were reportedly contracted by MercuryOne and the Nazarene Fund in a bid to rescue Americans and allies left behind during President Joe Biden’s U.S. troop withdrawal last month.
Fox News obtained a State Department email sent to Eric Montalvo, an organizer of the private evacuation effort, stating that the Biden administration refused to grant formal approval for the flights to land in any other foreign nations even as it admitted that such clearance would be necessary for the jets to take off.
The email also prohibited the flights from landing at U.S. military bases or flying directly to America, ostensibly based on concerns about the inability to properly screen passengers or review the flight manifests.
Specifically, the email asserted that the charter flights would not be permitted to land at the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
“It can’t be the U.S. either”
“In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Easter region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land.”
The message continued by instructing organizers that they “need to find another destination country, and it can’t be the U.S. either.”
Although the agency affirmed that it would not provide the necessary approval, it did not formally object to the flights, meaning the administration essentially washed its hands of the matter entirely.
The email appears to stand in stark contrast to public remarks from officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, both of whom have claimed that the Biden administration would do everything possible to assist evacuation efforts.
Although early concerns revolved around the possibility that the Taliban would prevent individuals from leaving Afghanistan, it now appears that the State Department is blocking evacuation efforts meant to address Biden’s perceived failures in the region.