Sources: Biden administration – not the Taliban – behind charter planes filled with Americans being held up in Afghanistan

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AFGHANISTAN – According to reports, the State Department is reportedly responsible for the holdups that are blocking charter flights from taking off in Afghanistan – which are being used to evacuate both Americans and vulnerable Afghans.

A recent report from Fox News notes that the State Department is behind the delays impacting the evacuation efforts of Americans, SIV and green card holders in Afghanistan, which those efforts are being organized by various groups utilizing private aircrafts to get them out of the country.

Individuals involved with the evacuation efforts spoke with Fox News, some anonymously for obvious reasons, saying that this isn’t a stall being enacted by the Taliban:

“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands. It is not the Taliban that is holding this up – as much as it sickens me to say that – it is the United States government.”

Rick Clay, who runs a group called Plan B that is involved in evacuation efforts ongoing, also confirmed the aforementioned, saying they’ve been trying to get clearance from the State Department to run flights into Qatar where vulnerable Afghans can be vetted and processed at refugee centers in Doha:

“It is imperative that we get into Doha where there [are] other refugee centers. That is where I’ve asked for clearance.”

While appearing on the podcast Bannon’s War Room, Clay was asked by show host Steve Bannon as to whether the State Department has been helpful or a hindrance in efforts to evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans by way of charter flights.

Clay conveyed that the State Department is proving unhelpful, saying the following:

“As of right now they’re not really being helpful. We’ve worked with – my group is called Plan B, it’s Afghan Rescue Crew, we go by ARC for short – and we’ve worked with Pineapple and digital Dunkirk and No One Left Behind and Quiet Professionals and so forth, and also Coalition of Hope.

“We’ve been very successful with getting people out prior to the pullout of American troops from Kabul. Since then, it’s been very difficult – if not impossible – to get our aircraft into and out of Afghanistan for various reasons. And we’ve been working this problem for quite a while, and we now have aircraft that can get in – and are in Afghanistan.”

“I actually have three aircraft on standby to go in, with an improved manifest, the only problem we have is getting landing rights on the outbound leg into several countries. And we’ve contacted many of these countries and they’ll take our aircraft in, but they want assurances from the State Department that they can do it.”

Clay added that it’s not only his outfit that are being delayed by the State Department’s inaction, but also the other groups like Coalition of Hope and other working to help evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans:

“It’s not just our efforts that are running into this roadblock, it’s also all the other groups that I just mentioned.”

Bannon went on to ask whether Clay agreed with the framing presented by Rep. Michael McCaul earlier in September, where the Republican representative claimed that the Taliban were effectively holding Americans hostage in Afghanistan.

Clay said that said scenario isn’t the case for the time being, but it could be an issue later down the line if evacuation efforts aren’t carried out quickly:

“We haven’t had that experience yet, the Taliban – and I hate to say it – have been quite cooperative.”

“At some point Mr. Bannon, these people are going to become commodities and they’re going to be used for leverage. And confusion can be your best friend at times and right now there’s a window there that we have where we’re still in that window, but it’s closing.”

Clay also spoke with us here at Law Enforcement Today, noting that his efforts have saved thousands so far, but there are still several thousand more that they’re trying to evacuate:

“We’ve helped rescue over 2,000 people. I currently have a manifest of 6,000, many Christians, several hundred Americans, and this morning we were able to get four Americans out.”

The State Department has been running a handful of excuses regarding the lack of clearance for these flights, citing a “lack of air traffic controllers and radar issues,” according to Fox News. Clay received word on September 2nd that the State Department would eventually grant approval for flights once they review the manifest – a process that could take several days.

This is a developing story.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this matter.

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As mentioned earlier in the article, the characterization that the flights were delayed by the Taliban and people were basically being held hostage came from Republican Rep. Michael McCaul during a Fox News appearance earlier in September. 

Here’s that previous report that provides background on the fluid situation broad. 

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According to reports, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee claimed that six planes have been sitting at the Mazar-i-Sharif international airport for the past few days are tantamount to being held “hostage” by the Taliban.

CBS News correspondent Eena Ruffini confirmed said scenario of flights being delayed from takeoff at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip due to the Taliban having the ultimate authority on when the flights can deport.

Rep. Michael McCaul claimed during a Fox News Sunday interview on September 5th that the Taliban have been holding flights with Americans aboard captive over the “last couple of days”:

“We’ve had six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport – six airplanes – with American citizens on them as I speak also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now. We have status cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport.”

Rep. McCaul told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he believes that the Taliban are withholding these flights as a means to have the U.S. be compelled into recognizing the Taliban as an official government body:

“This is really Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they’re not going to let American citizens leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.”

CBS News correspondent Eena Ruffini shared the following on Twitter confirming that intel shows there are charter flights being held up abroad:

“New: CBS has learned multiple flights are being held on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Northern Afghanistan… by the Taliban.”

“An email from the State Department to members of congress — and viewed by CBS  — acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip and have permission to land in Doha “if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff.”

Furthermore, Marina LeGree, the executive director of Ascend – an NGO that provides young women with “athletics-based” training courses – told Forbes that she aware of somewhere between 600 and 1200 individuals waiting outside the Mazar-i-Sharif international airport, including 19 US citizens and 2 green card holders, but that there are “probably more.”

LeGree claimed the group includes female mountaineers, NGO workers, journalists, and vulnerable women, and that the Taliban is negotiating various costs with Afghan carrier Kam Air, though she added, “For 6 days, who knows.”

LeGree added that “more people are coming, some of whom are not on the manifest but are paying a bribe to the gatekeepers. Conditions are deteriorating.”

The State Department noted when speaking to Forbes that they lack a mean to verify general details of what’s transpiring on the ground regarding these charter flights due to there being an absence of U.S. personnel actively on the ground.

This matter is actively developing. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this fluid situation. 

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Female Afghan judge who just escaped country says released Taliban prisoners tried to hunt her down after takeover

(Originally published September 4th, 2021)

AFGHANISTAN – A female Afghan judge who managed to flee the country says that following the takeover by the Taliban, militants she had previously jailed attempted to hunt her down before she escaped the country.

A recent report from Reuters detailed the female judge’s account, with the woman telling the outlet:

“Four or five Taliban members came and asked people in my house: ‘Where is this woman judge?’ These were people who I had put in jail.”

This former Afghan judge, who is now safe in Europe after being able to successfully evacuate the country from Kabul, is among one of roughly 250 female judges that worked in Afghanistan. The outlet reports that while some were able to flee the country, many remained left behind under the Taliban’s rule.

Many of these female judges in Afghanistan tried fleeing the country while evacuations were taking place in August but were unable to.

With the Taliban having freed prisoners all over the country, the former Afghan judge in Europe says those she’s been in contact with who previously served as judges are “in danger”:

“Their messages are of fear and complete terror. They tell me if they do not get rescued their lives are in direct danger.”

Afghan human rights activist Horia Mosadiq says that it’s not just former female judges that are at risk in Afghanistan while under the Taliban’s rule, but thousands of other women who engaged in various human rights efforts within the country.

British Justice Minister Robert Buckland commented on the matter, noting that they were able to safely evacuate nine former judges in Afghanistan and are actively trying to create a safe passage to Europe for other “very vulnerable people”:

“A lot of these judges were responsible for administering the rule of law and quite rightly they are fearful about the consequences that could now face them with the rise of the Taliban.”

Sarah Kay, a Belfast-based human rights lawyer and member of the Atlas Women network of international lawyers who is part of the online group dubbed as the “digital Dunkirk” had the following to say about the female judges left behind in Afghanistan: 

“Governments had zero interest in evacuating people that were not their own nationals.”

Patricia Whalen, an America-based judge who helped train female Afghan judges abroad, is also assisting with finding a way to get these women in Afghanistan safely evacuated:

“The responsibility that we bear is almost unbearable at the moment because we are one of the few people taking responsibility for this group.”

Over the past month, the Taliban have sworn that they’ll uphold the rights of women “within the limits of Islam,” according to a spokesperson for the outfit.

The Biden administration has affirmed that in the event the Taliban go back on their pledges regarding the treatment of Afghan citizens, then some sort of action will be taken to hold the Taliban accountable.

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