While the U.S. military works furiously to airlift Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, former President Donald Trump suggested without evidence that “thousands” of terrorists could be among the evacuees in Afghanistan.
“You can be sure the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday, despite the Taliban’s efforts to curtail Afghans’ movements and to bring the withdrawal to a swift end.
Trump added that one “can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan.”
Some close U.S. allies — including Afghan military translators — were being turned away at the Kabul airport, with priority going to American citizens and green card holders, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed State Department official.
The U.S. was working around the clock in its desperate effort in Afghanistan, which follows the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. was sticking to an Aug. 31 deadline to complete the withdrawal, despite efforts by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to push the president to delay the pullout.
The Taliban, which took over the country this month as America withdrew its forces, continued to insist Tuesday that the U.S. military must be gone by month’s end.
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement Tuesday that her organization had received reports of restrictions on the movement of women, “recruitment of child soldiers” and “summary executions.”
“The rapid seizure of much of the country, including the capital, by the Taliban has raised grave fears of a return to past patterns of human rights violations, and stoked desperation among many Afghans,” she said in the statement.
Biden has defiantly defended the initial U.S. pullout, which was set in motion after Trump drew down the number of troops in Afghanistan and planned an even swifter exit during his administration.
Appearing on Fox News on Tuesday, McConnell seemed less interested in fanning fears about terrorism and more focused on the deadline.
“The president needs to forget about the Aug. 31 deadline,” McConnell said. “We need to send enough American personnel, military personnel, to rescue our people.”