Text messages between U.S. military commanders and special operators conducting last-minute rescue missions in Afghanistan reveal a chaotic situation on the ground with military officials expressing frustration that they were being forced to abandon American citizens at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in Kabul.
According to Michael Yon, a former Special Forces soldier and war correspondent who was involved with an effort among former special operators on the ground to rescue stranded Americans, the XVIII Airborne Corps blocked 49 American passport holders from entering the airport gate before the August 31 deadline.
Yon said in a post on Locals.com that he and his partner Rick Clay had three jets on the ground in Kabul to get the desperate Americans out of the country. He said they worked with the Taliban to get an American mother, and her three children all the way to the airport, only to have the U.S. Army turn them away at the gate.
“Yes, we are f—king abandoning American citizens,” wrote an apparently frustrated Army Colonel in a test message to the private operators.
COL US ARMY to Rick Clay and to me in final hours. Rick had three jets on ground in Kabul. I had arranged Taliban bringing American mother and three American children all the way to gate. Turned away by American Army: https://t.co/sl4nONGqoL
— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) August 31, 2021
“We had them out there waving their passport screaming, ‘I’m American,'” Yon told John Solomon in a podcast interview on Tuesday.
Yon stressed that even the Taliban terrorists were willing to let Americans escape, but the United States military, apparently under State Department orders, left them stranded.
“They knowingly and willingly left Americans at the airport gate within the last few hours,” Yon wrote on Locals.com on August 30. “I and others worked hard and personally to get American troops to come to the gate or call their Taliban counterparts to let them in. TALIBAN WERE WILLING TO LET THEM IN,” he added.
“I contacted all the right people. They all failed. Including Lieutenant General Erik Kurilla. Courageous in battle. Morally corrupt. All failed. Don’t call me. Don’t contact me ever again. We will work with Afghans and veterans and private real Americans and others to get people out. We don’t need you. We don’t want you,” Yon wrote in frustration.
He told Solomon that while American citizens were being thwarted at the gate, members of the rescue group “texted one another to say they had seen National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on CNN saying that neither he nor U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie were told that Americans were abandoned.”
“Hey did they end up just taking off?” one correspondent texted the helper group. “Because the National Security Advisor just told Tapper that neither he nor McKenzie had heard anything about Americans being left at the gates.”
The correspondent noted that the private group heard differently from a lieutenant colonel (O-5): “Given we had comms with an O-5 on the ground, that means CENTCOM C3 is s–t, or someone is lying.”
Text messages viewed by Just the News showed the helper group describing their efforts — and failures.
One man wrote how he spoke to the American mother, and sent photos of her family’s passports to Americans inside the airport.
“The Americans recognize it’s her and agree but I’ve been told General Milley won’t let them in,” the man texted.
The helper group strategized on whether they should send money, how much, and to whom. Ultimately, the family did not get into the airport.
“We get them to the gate, and the U.S. Army completely fails this saying, ‘Oh, we can’t do it, because the Department of the State tells us we can’t do it,” Yon told Just the News.
There are now multiple reports claiming that the Biden administration blocked American citizens from leaving Afghanistan at HKIA.
Conservative commentator, Glenn Beck, has has for weeks been complaining of State Department roadblocks, and malfeasance. Beck launched his own effort to rescue Afghan Christians several weeks ago, quickly raising more than $28 million to fly them out of the country. On August 30, he said that the Biden administration was lying about the number of Americans still trapped in the country.
“The State Department says only a few hundred Americans are still trying to leave Afghanistan,” Beck said. “I’m sorry, but that’s a LIE. We have WAY more requests than that coming in from people begging us to help them escape.”
Glenn said he would send the State Department the emails, but thought better of it because the Biden administration would probably give the names to the Taliban “so those people could be rounded up and killed.”
“It’s sick!” he added. “Not in my entire life that I know of did our country openly, OPENLY take the wrong side.”
The State Department says only a few hundred Americans are still trying to leave Afghanistan. I'm sorry, but that's a LIE. We have WAY more requests than that coming in from people begging us to help them escape. pic.twitter.com/i3rrRMy6Ej
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) August 30, 2021
On August 25, Rep. Mike Waltz (R- Fla.) said in a Fox News interview that a U.S. State Department checkpoint was turning away American citizens at the Kabul airport as they tried to evacuate the country.
“American citizens are also “being denied by the State Department after they’ve made it through multiple Taliban checkpoints,” he told Fox News host Shannon Bream.
Mary Beth Long, a former Department of Defense official, told American Greatness that some American citizens made the perilous journey to HKIA four times, only to be turned away at the gates each time. As a result of the Biden Administration’s inexplicable actions, she said, some members of the military, and other officials had “gone rogue,” helping desperate Americans sneak past the gates.
Marines guarding the gates have PTSD, she said, from being forced to block the entrance of the airport from American citizens desperate to flee the country, knowing they faced almost certain death at the hands of the Taliban if they didn’t get out. Long told American Greatness she had fielded calls from Marines who said the situation at the airport was more stressful to them than the hard combat they’d experienced in the war-torn country.
Long said American officials in charge of giving clearance at the airport told American citizens flying into HKIA to conduct rescue operations that they would be fired upon unless they turned around.
A retired special operator in the United States, who oversaw rescue teams in Afghanistan, sent a long message to independent journalist Emily Miller detailing how the State Department blocked their efforts.
“There are several groups of retired special operations guys and other veterans who have gathered significant private funding and moved lots of assets to begin rescuing people from Afghanistan since our government refuses to do their job,” he wrote.
These groups have sent private planes into Kabul and been told they could not.
They have shuttled busses of American citizens to the Kabul airport and have been told to leave and that they were not allowed to fly out.
Some of these other groups have been granted access to fly into neighboring countries to launch tactical flights to recover personnel just to have the
@StateDept come behind them and shut the door.
All of these accounts stand in sharp contrast to the repeated claims of the Biden White House that every American who wanted to leave Afghanistan, was able to do so.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on August 23 denied that Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan, scolding that it was “irresponsible” to make that assertion.
Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy had noted that the administration’s botched handling of the situation has left thousands of Americans stranded, prompting Psaki to snap, “First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded, they are not. We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come him, home. 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.”
“LTG Erik Kurilla, the shameless commander of @18airbornecorps, abandoned American women and children at the airport South Gate yet is lying and bragging about rescuing them. Left behind,” Yon wrote on Twitter.
“You guys left American citizens at the gate of the Kabul airport,” Yon wrote Tuesday to the commander. “Three empty jets paid for by volunteers were waiting for them. You and I talked on the phone. I told you where they were. Gave you their passport images. And my email and phone number. And you left them behind,” he vented.
Yon added: “Great job saving yourselves. Probably get a lot of medals.”
In response to a XVIIIAirborne Corps tweet about the mission, Yon wrote disdainfully: “Thank the Lord the soldiers saved themselves while leaving American women and children at the gate of the airport to the fate of the Taliban. We can never repay you fully.”
Thank the Lord the soldiers saved themselves while leaving American women and children at the gate of the airport to the fate of the Taliban. We can never repay you fully. https://t.co/sjxBbK9wvR
— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) August 31, 2021
Further exposing the grim reality on the ground, multiple reports on Wednesday indicated that a number of “U.S. sponsored journalists” were left behind in the war-torn country.
According to the New York Post, the Biden administration abandoned “hundreds of US-sponsored journalists and their families in the chaotic withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
Despite President Biden promising to get every journalist out, the reporters employed by the US Agency for Global Media were left stranded.
Fox News confirmed that Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists were unable to get aboard the last flights from Afghanistan on Monday.
News of the journalists being left behind comes after national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that groups prioritized by the Biden administration had made it to evacuation planes.
Joe Biden on Tuesday declared that the administrations’ mission to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies from the now Taliban-controlled country an “extraordinary success.”
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravely(sic), and selfless courage of the United States military, and our diplomats, and intelligence perfessionals(sic),” Biden said at the beginning of his 26-minute speech.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) the top Republican on the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, told Solomon that the Yon’s text messages confirmed his worst suspicions.
“I’m not sure what planet President Biden and members of his administration are on, but here on planet Earth, his withdrawal from Afghanistan is an abysmal failure,” the senator said. “What we’ve been hearing from people working the evacuation is completely different from the administration’s rosy spin. These texts confirm my worst suspicions and should serve as further justification to dramatically increase the vetting process before granting refugees legal status and rights.”
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) who has been in Afghanistan helping with rescue efforts, posted an Instagram message on Wednesday, saying “I am heading home. Have we been helping get Americans out of Afghanistan, yes. Is the mission continuing, yes. Am I missing, no. Did I go dark for a little, yes because it wasn’t safe to be communicating. Am I extremely disappointed in how we (United States) left Americans behind … that would be an understatement.”
He added: “President Biden and his administration are absolutely lying to the American people about Americans and our friends being left behind.”
Newsmax’s White House correspondent Emerald Robinson reported Thursday that multiple sources have confirmed that “the main obstacle to rescuing American citizens from Afghanistan is our own State Department.”
Multiple sources have confirmed to me that the main obstacle to rescuing American citizens from Afghanistan is our own State Department.
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) September 2, 2021