UPDATED 7:40 AM PT – Saturday, August 21, 2021
The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said American citizens were being beaten by the Taliban in attempt to evacuate Afghanistan. Austin reportedly made the claim to members of Congress on a call on Friday, which directly contradicted Joe Biden comments an hour earlier when he said there was no danger to Americans leaving the country.
None of the military officers or administration officials on the call could say how many Americans were still in need of evacuation from Kabul. However, the Pentagon’s top spokesman has taken the word of the Taliban who said they were allowing safe passage for Americans to evacuate.
Remember, the Biden Administration sent this out to Americans trapped in Afghanistan:
“THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT ENSURE SAFE PASSAGE TO THE HAMID KARZAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 20, 2021
Taliban Spokesman Suhail Shaheen went on to explain, “you may have seen our statement in this regard, not once but several times, saying that there is no risk to embassies, diplomats from our side.”
Meanwhile, some on the call have expressed dissatisfaction with how the call with the defense secretary went, as many have felt their most pressing concerns went ignored.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also confirmed the reports.
“We’ve communicated to the Taliban that that is absolutely unacceptable and we want free passage through these checkpoints for documented Americans,” Kirby said. “By and large, that’s happening.”
Journalists in Kabul have reported that American citizens are being blocked from getting to Hamid Karzai Airport in the nation’s capital by the Taliban.
“We had difficulty getting into the airport,” CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward said on air on Friday, “Working out how to get to the airport is like a Rubik’s cube…it’s very difficult, it’s not a simple process at all.”
“Anyone who says any American can get in here, is, you know — technically it’s possible, but it’s very difficult, but it’s extremely difficult and it is dangerous,” she added.