President Joe Biden and his top military commanders took the nation by surprise on Monday when it was announced that the final U.S. troops were evacuated from Afghanistan and the 20-year conflict in the country had officially come to an end.
However, Biden has a new crisis brewing, as a few weeks ago, according to the Daily Caller, he explicitly committed to evacuating every American from the country and vowed to extend the deadline in order to do so. But it was quickly revealed on Monday that Biden broke that promise, as there are still possibly “hundreds” of Americans stranded behind enemy lines.
CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie confirmed via press conference on Monday that the U.S. military wasn’t able to evacuate the remaining American passport holders.
“No American citizens came out on the last, what we call the joint tactical exfiltration, the last five jets to leave. We maintained the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out,” the general said via video conference.
The commander added: “That activity ended probably about 12 hours before our exit, although we continue the outreach and would’ve been prepared to bring them on until the very last minute, but none of them made it to the airport and were able to be accommodated.”
He went on to say that while the numbers aren’t exact, he estimates that the amount of Americans left behind is in the “low hundreds.” When asked how they’re supposed to get out, McKenzie pivoted to the State Department’s promise to use “leverage” to make sure those Americans eventually make it to safety.
“The military phase is over, but our desire to bring these people out remains as intense as it was before. The weapons have just shifted, if you will, from the military realm to the diplomatic realm,” the general continued.
Biden’s broken promise
It was during an interview aired on Aug. 19 that Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopolous that he would, if necessary, extend the Aug. 31 deadline in order to make sure all American citizens were safely evacuated from the Taliban-controlled country.
“Cause we’ve got, like, 10,000 to 15,000 Americans in the country right now, right? And are you committed to making sure that the troops stay until every American who wants to be out–” Stephanopolous asked before Biden quickly cut him off with what seemed like a definitive answer at the time.
“Yes,” the president said, “Yes.”
Biden already faced intense criticism for his overall handling of the Afghanistan debacle, but now that he’s clearly left Americans trapped behind enemy lines, that criticism — from both sides of the political aisle — is expected to intensify in the coming days and weeks.
With a growing number of politicians calling for the resignations of Biden’s top military commanders — and the president himself — Biden better pray that he’s able to get those stranded Americans to safety or risk further soiling an already-stained political legacy.