British and French forces are rescuing people stuck behind Taliban checkpoints in Kabul. A bipartisan group of 53 U.S. senators is urging President Biden to have the U.S. military do the same:
Biden said on Wednesday that the Taliban is offering “safe passage for Americans to get out” of Afghanistan. But earlier that very same day, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman had suggested the opposite at a press conference: “We have seen reports that the Taliban, contrary to their public statements and their commitments to our government, are blocking Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport.”
There were more reports on Thursday that some Americans can’t get past Taliban checkpoints as they seek to leave the country.
Although French and British forces have been deployed to Kabul to escort those countries’ citizens to the airport, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at a separate press conference, “I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations into Kabul” to collect stranded Americans or Afghan allies.
Biden is now getting strong, bipartisan pushback from lawmakers in Congress, who are urging him to rescue Americans stranded behind Taliban lines in Afghanistan. In a letter to the president on Thursday, 53 senators asked the “Administration to assist with the passage of individuals to the airport to safety — both those within Kabul and those outside of the capital — as well as to consider cases where Afghans fleeing quickly may not have been able to collect or gather appropriate documents.”
One of the letter’s signatories, Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), said in a separate statement that Biden should give “American troops the power to push back the airport perimeter and create safe, American-controlled corridors to the airport. We cannot wait for Americans to find their own way. Go get them. It’s the duty of the commander-in-chief.”
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