As Biden vacations, Sen. Cotton and staff work around the clock to help Americans, allies escape the Taliban

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UNITED STATES- After two decades of missteps in Afghanistan, shared among four separate presidents, only Joe Biden will be the face of the war’s chaotic, violent conclusion as thousands of Americans are left in a country that was quickly taken over by the Taliban.

While President Biden continues to spread blame and admits no fault for the chaotic drawdown, thousands of Americans are stranded in a country with a leader who has seemingly turned his back on the United States. 

All is not lost as U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and his staff are stepping up to help those Americans and allies escape Kabul. On Sunday, August 15th, Cotton posted a tweet that was short and simple:

“If you’re an American stranded in Afghanistan, or know one who is, please contact my office immediately. (501) 223-9081 or [email protected] The situation is dire, but we’ll do everything in our power to help keep you informed and to help get you out.”

Immediately after Cotton posted his tweet, the phone started ringing and staffers lined up to field the calls. On Friday, August 20th, Cotton said in a statement:

“We had an overnight duty roster Sunday to Monday and we’ve been working pretty long hours since then to make sure that anybody that reached out to us gets in touch with a live human being who can take down their information and give them whatever the latest update is from the front.”

He added:

“It’s been a long week for all my office, both in Arkansas and Washington, but I’m very proud of what they’ve done to roll up their sleeves and help so many of their fellow countrymen and help a lot of Afghans as well.”

Doug Coutts, Cotton’s chief of staff and one of the people fielding the calls, said the stream of inquiries continued throughout the week. He said in a statement:

“Our office has kind of been working around the clock, with all hands on deck, to help American citizens and Afghan refugees who have worked with the Americans to get everything correct so they can get in the gate at Kabul [International Airport].”

Reportedly, refuge can be found within the perimeter and beyond the concertina wire. On the streets outside, the Taliban reign. Coutts added:

“We really just control the airport and the tarmac, and our soldiers and Marines aren’t being allowed outside the gate. So, when people show up at the gate, they have to have everything absolutely correct.”

On Wednesday, August 18th, one Afghan-American couple told the New York Times that they had made it inside the airport after reaching out to Cotton’s office and when they reached the barricade, they knew the name of a military contact because Cotton’s staff had provided it to them. Cotton said:

“I’m glad that we’ve been able to help Arkansans and Americans from all across the country at least get information they need and, in some cases, get inside the wire to Kabul airport and get on a flight back out.”

Cotton added that it is urgent the evacuations continue, portraying the current environment as highly dangerous. He said:

“In many cases, it will be a matter of life and death, even for American citizens, especially for those American citizens of Afghan descent. I don’t think the Taliban recognizes their naturalization into our country.”

Cotton added that recent events in Kabul have been harmful, stating:

“This is a catastrophe for American that will reverberate for years to come.”

On Thursday, August 19th, Cotton released a statement calling for the military to rescue trapped Americans in Kabul. He said in his statement:

“President Biden’s ill-planned, chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has stranded thousands of American citizens behind enemy lines, turning them in effect into hostages of the Taliban.

Instead of ordering rescue missions to save our people, as our allies have done, the Biden administration is relying on the Taliban’s good graces to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

He added:

“This catastrophe of the president’s making must come to an end. It’s time for President Biden to authorize the military to stop this rolling humiliation, expand the perimeter at Kabul airport, and rescue Americans trapped behind enemy lines.

Anything less amounts to an abandonment of our fellow Americans and a shameful abdication of duty in a moment of crisis.”
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Taliban reportedly executing people in Afghanistan caught with Bibles on their phone: ‘Spies and informants everywhere’

August 18th, 2021

AFGHANISTAN – According to a recent report from Breitbart News, Afghans caught with Bibles downloaded on their cellphones are reportedly being executed.

Considering that the last time the Taliban had control over Afghanistan, religious minorities were given the choice of converting or being killed, the reports of this practice being currently implemented are not shocking.

SAT-7, a nonprofit organization that broadcasts Christian programs to churches and Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, conveyed to Religion News Services that the Taliban are going door-to-door and executing those who refuse to renounce their Christian faith.

SAT-7 North America President Dr. Rex Rogers said reports coming from sources in the area claim that anyone caught with Christian-related materials are being killed if those materials are discovered:

“We’re hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones, and if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately. It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.”

Other Christian-themed non-profits have been raising alarms as of late with the takeover by the Taliban in Afghanistan, with Release International quoting a contact simply referred to as “Micah” saying the following about current conditions:

“Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are. In the areas that the Taliban now control girls are not allowed to go to school and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.”

In a recent piece from Farahnaz Ispahani featured in The Hill, the Taliban of 2021 is really no different from the Taliban that reigned in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001:

“Contrary to assertions by Western diplomats who engaged in talks with Taliban representatives, setting in motion the current debacle, there is nothing ‘moderate’ about the new Taliban. Their prejudices and intolerant outlook seem still to be the same as in the past.”

Ispahani went into detail on what life was like in Afghanistan before America intervening 20 years ago:

“The last time the Islamist fundamentalist group ruled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, they imposed their version of strict Sharia law, did not allow women to work or girls to attend schools, forced women to keep their faces covered in public and be accompanied by a male guardian and demanded that religious minorities convert or be killed.”

It seems as though, based upon these recent reports, Afghanistan is reverting back to that dark period again.

On August 16th, former Washington Post contributor Amie Ferris-Rotman proclaimed on Twitter that some of her friends in Afghanistan have told her about the door-to-door efforts being employed by the Taliban:

“Over the past hour, several Afghan female friends in Kabul told me the Taliban are in their neighbourhoods, going house to house, looking for women in govt and media, making lists. One sent me a photo from her living room showing armed Talibs outside. “I love you,” she wrote.”

Back in July, the Taliban Cultural Commission issued a “diktat” – an ordered decree – ordering then-controlled Taliban areas to provide lists of women to be married off to the Taliban’s fighters:

“All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters.”

With the Taliban now controlling Afghanistan, it would seem likely that this diktat from July would still be in effect. Overall, the outlook is not good for either Christians or women in the country.

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CNN reporter says Taliban is “chanting ‘Death to America’” but says “they seem friendly at the same time”

(Originally published August 17th, 2021)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – In what can only be described as a bizarre scene Monday, CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward translated an interview with a Taliban fighter in Kabul, who she described as “friendly,” while other fighter chanted “death to America” nearby.

The interview was conducted following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban as American troops leave the country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reportedly fled the country upon the arrival of Taliban forces.

Ward interviewed a Taliban fighter outside the abandoned U.S. Embassy. Ward said that the Taliban were clearly in charge of Afghanistan:

“As soon as we leave our compound, it’s clear who is now in charge. Taliban fighters have flooded the capital. Smiling and victorious, they took this city of 6 million people in a matter of hours — barely firing a shot.

“This is a sight I honestly thought I would never see: scores of Taliban fighters, and just behind us, the U.S. embassy compound. Some carry American weapons. They tell us they’re here to maintain law and order.”

Ward described the streets of the city as mainly filled with the Taliban, and that there were “far fewer women” than normal. Ward said that she was even treated differently by the Taliban because of her gender:

“They’ve just told me to stand to the side because I’m a woman.”

Many Afghans are trying to flee the city as the Taliban take control, but Ward said the group has a “bizarre sort of mystique” which leads some to view them as heroes:

“It’s a very odd cocktail that you find on the streets of Kabul with so many people hiding, and other people peeking out to see what comes next, and nobody really knowing what on Earth to expect.”

For those caught in the Taliban resurgence, which took hold of the country much faster than the Biden administration expected, Ward said the Afghans seemed trapped with no escape plan:

“There’s definitely no plan in place to try to evacuate these people safely.”

President Biden and other U.S. officials were caught off guard by the rapid Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which threw the planned withdrawal of American forces from the country into chaos. The withdrawal quickly deteriorated into a mission to safely evacuate American personnel from the country.

By Sunday night, senior officials were forced to admit they were surprised by the advance of the Taliban and the collapse of Afghan security forces. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told news reporters:

“We’ve seen that that (security) force has been unable to defend the country, and that has happened more quickly than we anticipated.”

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that Afghanistan fell faster than the administration expected, and blamed the government’s fall on the Afghans themselves:

“At the end of the day, despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul, and they would not fight for the country.”

President Biden, facing increasing criticism from both sides of the aisle, interrupted his Camp David vacation to address the country on the events in Afghanistan on Monday afternoon. During the speech, after saying he accepted responsibility for the chaos, the President passed the blame to the Afghans.

“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. I am president of the United States of America. The buck stops with me. The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future.”

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Inflation, Afghanistan and the border: August a month of crises as Biden stares down pivotal moment in his presidency

August 16, 2021

 

WASHINGTON, DC – In a week that should have been a celebration for Democrats after passing their massive infrastructure bill, President Joe Biden finds himself at the polar political opposite, being attacked for his failures even by his own mainstream media.

Politico Playbook writer Eugene Daniels described the situation:

“This week was supposed to be a victory lap of sorts for President Joe Biden. After months of negotiations, naysaying from pundits and a major expense of his political capital, he’d actually managed to engineer a bipartisan infrastructure deal that passed a fractious Senate with 69 votes.

“We finally got infrastructure week. Yet, at the end of it, infrastructure is not the biggest story — and the ones that obscured it spell real trouble for the White House.”

The President appears to be struggling with issues from the southern border crisis to inflation, but the hardest hit came with the chaos and turmoil that has erupted in Afghanistan. Some media have begun to compare the fall of Kabul with the botched 1975 “fall of Saigon” in Vietnam.

As the United States withdraws personnel from its embassy in Kabul amid the Taliban’s rapid advance on the Afghan capital, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had to issue a rejection of the comparison of the U.S. exit to Vietnam:

“Remember, this is not Saigon. We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission, and that mission was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11 – and we have succeeded in that mission.”

Playbook listed headlines from mainstream media, normally a safe haven for the Democratic President. The headlines show that Biden is even losing support from his closest supporters.

Headlines the article noted included:

  • The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords,” the AP reports from Kabul.
  • “Biden has wanted the U.S. to pull the plug on Afghanistan for years. Doing it has consequences,” by WaPo’s Anne Gearan and Karen DeYoung.
  • “Afghan women fear return to ‘dark days’ amid Taliban sweep,” AP … “U.S. Embassy in Kabul Told to Destroy Files in Case Taliban Wins,” Bloomberg.
  • “In desperation, U.S. scours for countries willing to house Afghan refugees,” Reuters.

Politico Playbook reminded readers that President Biden previously denied the Taliban could overrun the country when America withdrew troops. On July 8, the President said:

“The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”

The AP reported that the Taliban did just that:

“The Taliban seized two more provinces on Saturday and approached the outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital while also launching a multi-pronged assault on a major northern city defended by former warlords.”

The President came under fire from the media again when both he and his press secretary went on vacation as Afghanistan fell. While the President vacationed at Camp David, Press Secretary Jen Psaki apparently went on vacation as well.

Fox News tried to contact Psaki to ask about the President’s failure to comment on the events in Afghanistan when they received an auto-reply email stating:

“I will be out of the office from August 15th-August 22nd.”

Mainstream media began reporting on the absence of the President during the crisis with headlines like:

  • “Silence from Biden as Taliban takes control of Afghanistan,” CBS News.
  • “Liz Cheney slams Biden for remaining silent on Afghanistan,” MSN
  • “In Washington, Recriminations Over Afghanistan Emerge Quickly,” NY 

The President, facing mounting criticism from within his own party, interrupted his vacation on Monday to give a national address on the events in Afghanistan.  

President Biden admitted that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban happened “more quickly than we anticipated,” but added that “I stand squarely behind my decision” to order the vast majority of US forces out of the country.

The President made a weak attempt to deflect blame for the botched exit from Afghanistan to his predecessor Donald Trump:

“When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban,” Biden said. “Under his agreement, US forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, … US forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in the country, and the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001.

“The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. There would have been no cease-fire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1. There was only (the) cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan, lurching into the third decade of conflict.”

President Biden then pointed further blame at the Afghan military and political leaders while standing by his decision to rapidly withdraw American forces from the war-torn country:

“The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,” the president went on. “If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.

“American troops cannot, and should not, be fighting in a war — and dying in a war — that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Sen. Joni Ernst(R-IO) said President Biden is to blame for the chaos:

“This rapid and haphazard withdrawal of American troops — before we knew that our embassy would be safe, before we had our Afghan interpreters and other friends out of Afghanistan — to allow it to fall like this without any sort of plan or recourse, it is shameful.”

In addition to the chaos in Afghanistan, a weary public is growing concerned about the state of the country under President Biden’s watch.  Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell explained the concerns while hosting “Hannity” on Fox News Friday night:

“His dereliction of duty is as undeniable as ever: From the disaster at the southern border to rising inflation to rising gas prices and rising crime all across the country, Joe Biden is failing on every front.

“And overseas, the Biden Doctrine appears to be more interested in appeasing our enemy than it is for standing up for the American people. Frankly, it is an absolute disgrace.”

Adding to the President’s problems is the rising cost of goods in the country and signs of inflation rattled by the $3.5 trillion dollar price tag for his infrastructure bill. The Hill reported:

“The new inflation: Don’t expect food or gas prices to fall any time soon. The Biden administration’s policies will worsen the outlook for inflation. Increased regulations have created an energy price shock and introduced other supply shocks that will slow productivity and output growth and boost inflation.”

The growing border crisis has even led to some of the mainstream media jumping the Biden ship. CNN, one of President Biden’s most reliable supporters, published a rare negative article titled, “US saw a two-decade high in border crossings in July.”

A sign of the times President Biden is facing can be found in another article headline issued by CNN:

“August turns into a month of crises as Biden stares down a pivotal moment in his presidency.”

 _

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