Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, October 28, 2021
Team Biden’s surrender in Afghanistan includes the abandonment of more than 400 Americans who remain trapped in a nation now controlled by a terrorist organization.
There are at least 439 American citizens still in Afghanistan, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Tuesday. The White House had previously insisted that less than 100 Americans remained in the Taliban-controlled country.
Of those 439 Americans, 196 have told the State Department they want out, Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl told senators.
Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican called the situation a “slow-motion hostage crisis,” and said Joe Biden has shown an indifference to the life-or-death situation these Americans face.
Sasse accused Team Biden of “gaslighting the public” by lowballing the numbers. Biden “needs to take responsibility and get our people home,” the senator said.
Team Biden says that it helped airlift more than 120,000 people out of Afghanistan. Most of those are Afghans, though few had been approved for the Special Immigrant Visa for Afghans who assisted the U.S. war effort.
How the Biden administration is vetting the Afghans, many of whom appear to no be vetted at all, has also been called into question.
Tens of thousands of Afghans have been allowed to enter the U.S. under what is known as “humanitarian parole,” a power the Homeland Security secretary has to admit people deemed to be exceptional deserving cases.
According to Kahl, in order to reach the U.S., Afghans had to give fingerprints and basic biographical information and go through a records check of databases held by Customs and Border Protection, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center.
“If no derogatory information showed up, people were brought in without needing to go through an in-person interview, a far lower standard than the refugee or special immigrant process that would normally be applied to people in that situation,” Washington Times reporter Stephan Dinan noted.
Kahl said if an identity or fingerprints did trigger one of the databases, then the Afghan would go through an in-person interview.
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said that was different than what he was hearing from Homeland Security, which is leading the approval process. “What DHS says is there was never any in-person interview done anywhere.”
Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office said in a statement that an Afghan male placed in Montana by the U.S. State Department was charged with sexual assault.
In a statement, Gianforte said that while he welcomes “fully-vetted Afghan allies to Montana, this situation and others across the country raise serious concerns about whether the Biden administration is meeting its obligations to fully vet Afghans prior to resettlement.”
Gianforte called on Biden to “immediately halt resettlements to Montana until federal agencies provide me with adequate assurance that Afghans coming to Montana are fully-vetted in accordance with federal law.”
Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines said the suspect was admitted to the United States and placed in Montana under humanitarian parole.
In September, two Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin were charged with crimes. One was charged with sexual assault of a minor while another was charged with attempting to strangle and suffocate his spouse.