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:
“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”:
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:
Outside the airport, the Taliban was reportedly beating and harassing Americans over the weekend, stealing U.S. passports, and threatening to shoot others: