Sasse to Biden: Go and Get Them

Washington, D.C. (August 19, 2021) U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement after President Biden’s interview with ABC News regarding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

“Mr. President, wake up and lead. Your denial that Afghanistan will be back under Taliban rule on the upcoming 20th anniversary of 9/11 is bizarre. You’re still engaging in evasion, denial of reality, blame-shifting, false dichotomies, and delusional happy talk. You seem unable or unwilling to condemn the Taliban for just about anything, but very eager to criticize Afghans who fought with us against a common enemy. Take responsibility and lead.

“Dishonor is a choice. Naively hoping the Taliban gives Americans and our allies safe passage to Kabul’s airport is not a plan — it’s a hostage situation. We have better options. Give American troops the power to push back the airport perimeter and create safe, American-controlled corridors to the airport. We cannot wait for Americans to find their own way. Go get them. It’s the duty of the commander-in-chief.”

U.S. officials are struggling to speed the pace of evacuations of Americans and Afghans at Kabul airport. In a hopeful sign, the State Department says it expects a major increase in the number to be airlifted from Kabul in coming hours. But obstacles remain, including Taliban checkpoints and paperwork problems. With an Aug. 31 deadline looming, tens of thousands remain to be airlifted to safety.  As of Thursday, about 7,000 people had been evacuated in the U.S. airlift, including about 2,000 on each of the past two days. The State Department said it expects another 6,000 to be flown out in coming hours.

The U.S. military and its allies have rescued a high-profile Afghan national police officer who was being hunted by the Taliban because of his years working with the American military. Mohammad Khalid Wardak and his family were airlifted Wednesday to safety in an undisclosed location. The officer had been in hiding with his wife and four children in Kabul, moving from place to place and unable to get inside the airport where the Taliban controlled the entrances. He was well-known because of his position as police chief in eastern Afghanistan’s Helmand Province and from television appearances, including one in which he challenged the Taliban to a fight.