White House staff members were reportedly “too afraid” over the weekend to tell President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan “they’re wrong” about the Afghan extraction operation.
“People are simply too afraid to tell Biden (and) Jake Sullivan (his National Security Adviser), they’re wrong. It’s one thing to crack down on leaks (as Mr Biden has done), it’s another thing to allow a mistake like this,” a former defense official, “who is in regular contact with senior White House aides,” told the Telegraph. “This White House is very disciplined, especially when it comes to leaks and such. But the downside of discipline is if you’re running things like an autocracy, and you broker no dissent internally, that’s not what the purpose of a White House staff is.”
Another individual “close to the administration” told the Telegraph he asked Biden, “without success,” to reconsider and “to keep open Bagram Air Base, which has more runways than Hamid Karzai International Airport and has long been the beating heart of American operations in Afghanistan.”
Bagram Air Base was reportedly evacuated by the military due to Biden’s order to withdraw troops down to the bare minimum. Manning the airbase was, therefore, untenable.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Sky News on Monday the August 31 deadline for American forces to leave the country will be enforced, further pressuring Biden’s failed extraction of American citizens:
Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban in Qatar, attends the Intra Afghan Dialogue talks in the Qatari capital Doha on July 7, 2019. – Dozens of powerful Afghans met with a Taliban delegation on July 7, amid separate talks between the US and the insurgents seeking to end 18 years of war. The separate intra-Afghan talks are attended by around 60 delegates, including political figures, women and other Afghan stakeholders. The Taliban, who have steadfastly refused to negotiate with the government of President Ashraf Ghani, have stressed that those attending are only doing so in a “personal capacity” (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP) (Photo credit should read KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images).
“President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So, if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” said Shaheen. “If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences. It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction”:
Taliban fighters patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021. The Taliban celebrated Afghanistan’s Independence Day on Thursday by declaring they beat the United States, but challenges to their rule ranging from running a country severely short on cash and bureaucrats to potentially facing an armed opposition began to emerge (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul).
The Taliban’s pinch on the administration comes as up to 65,000 Afghan people with families are waiting for Biden to extract them. Another 7,500 American citizens also remain stranded, trapped behind enemy lines, as the U.S. embassy in Kabul asked people over the weekend not to rendezvous at the airport:
Afghan people gather along a road as they wait to board a U S military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images).
Outside the airport, the Taliban was reportedly beating and harassing Americans over the weekend, stealing U.S. passports, and threatening to shoot others:
A Taliban fighter (R) searches the bags of people coming out of the Kabul airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war, as thousands of people mobbed the city’s airport trying to flee the group’s feared hardline brand of Islamist rule (Photo by Wakil Kohsar / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images).