White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday denied that Americans are “stranded” in Afghanistan, saying that it is “irresponsible” to make that claim.
Psaki bristled when asked about Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. military troops from the war-torn country before evacuating American citizens. Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy noted that the administration’s botched handling of the situation has left thousands of Americans stranded.
“First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded, they are not,” Psaki replied snippily. “We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come him, home, she continued. “We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via email, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home,” she insisted.
Despite Psaki’s assurances, at least one American woman trapped in the Taliban-controlled country has made it known that she is still there and desperate to get out.
“Please, Mr. President, please evacuate us. We need help,” the woman, whose identity is being withheld due to concerns for her safety, pleaded over the weekend.
The mother, according to Fox News, “is worried she’ll never see her kids again and in hiding with family members and Afghan allies.” She’s been blocked from getting to Kabul’s U.S.-held airport for a chance at an evacuation.
According to Matthew Downer, senior advisor to Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the unnamed woman has not heard heard from the Biden State Department.
An American woman is stranded in Kabul, all alone.
When she tried to get to the airport, the Taliban beat her for the crime of traveling without a male escort.
She has heard nothing from the State Department—only from free lance volunteers a world away.
— Matthew Downer (@mpdowner) August 23, 2021
“I really have given up hope, given up on the hope of going to the airport,” the woman told Fox. “It’s just not possible to make it through all those people.”
Doocy pressed Psaki: “so no Americans stranded is the White House’s official position of what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?”
“I’m just calling you out for saying we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when I said—when we are very clear—that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home, ” Psaki replied. “We are going to bring them home and I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.”
The woman trapped in Afghanistan (who definitely wants to return home) said that “there are as many as 20 Taliban checkpoints between her and the airport,” and that she’s one of untold numbers of American citizens trapped behind enemy lines.
Every moment that a car passes by, I feel like they are going to pull in and execute us. I don’t know if I’m going to see my children again,” she said.
She was whipped by Taliban fighters on one attempt to get through, she said. A man standing near her was shot in the head on another try, leaving his wife and baby in tears. Since then, she’s been in hiding.
“We are devastated,” she said. “We’re scared for our lives. Every moment that a car passes by, I feel like they are going to pull in and execute us. I don’t know if I’m going to see my children again.”
In a 27-second audio recording sent to West Virginia Rep. Carol Miller’s office, she can be heard struggling to speak through her tears.
“Hour by hour it’s getting more difficult,” she said, between sobs. “Even when the cars pass by I feel like they’re gonna stop at the door out there and the Taliban out there are gonna come in and kill us.”
We just received this audio from an incredibly brave American in Kabul. She was attacked each time she tried to reach the airport. Despite the danger to herself, she wants us to share this. We must guarantee the safety of Americans and our allies before it is too late. pic.twitter.com/Oq6R7YuWuJ
— Rep. Carol Miller (@RepCarolMiller) August 21, 2021
Psaki also attempted suggest during the White House press briefing that Joe Biden was passing the “test of competence and leadership” regarding Afghanistan, even though he has largely been on vacation throughout the crisis.
Jen Psaki: “The test of competence and of leadership is not about how you operate on your best day. It's about how you operate when the chips are down, when things are difficult.”
Biden was on vacation when Kabul fell. pic.twitter.com/KHlPtK5CXI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 23, 2021
Biden on Monday did not focus on the dire situation in Afghanistan.
After delivering remarks about the FDA approval of the still experimental Pfizer vaccine, he welcomed the women’s basketball team Seattle Storm to the White House to honor them for winning the 2020 WNBA Championship.
From the podium, Biden told the players patronizingly that women can do anything a man can do.
“It’s one thing for somebody to say that and keep pounding that in the head of five granddaughters as well, but the, guess what? he said incoherently. “Until they see it, ’til they watch, it becomes real then.”
Biden added: “That’s why by the way, she’s happens to be in Asia for me right now, but that’s why we have a female vice president to the United States of America who’s going …We’re going to have presidents pretty soon.”