By Janet Ekstract
NEW YORK (TURKISH JOURNAL)- U.S. President Joe Biden is suddenly finding himself contradicted even by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who admitted that a number of Americans are being beaten by the Taliban while attempting to gain access to Hamid Karzai International Airport. On Friday, in a call with lawmakers as well as in a recent Congressional briefing, Austin contradicted Biden’s statement to the press that he hadn’t heard about any cases of Americans being beaten or having trouble getting to the airport. Biden was quoted: “We know of no circumstance where American citizens are – carrying an American passport are trying to get through to the airport.” Reporters and eyewitnesses on the ground in Afghanistan have documented the situation – verifying that not only have Americans had problems getting to the airport through Taliban checkpoints but that they saw Americans being beaten.
The defense secretary called the current situation “unacceptable” and Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed those reports. Kirby said: “We’ve communicated to the Taliban that that is absolutely unacceptable and we want free passage through these checkpoints for documented Americans.” Journalists in Kabul are also reporting that American citizens are being blocked by the Taliban from getting to the airport. CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward live on air, Friday said that she and her crew had extreme difficulty in getting to the airport and added that it was very dangerous. In further corroboration, Ward’s camera crew got footage of Taliban fighters using their weapons to ban access to the airport.
Biden’s credibility would appear to be at an all-time low after the British Parliament condemned his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden is receiving major backlash regarding his decision not to inform other Western leaders about what was going on. According to reports, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was only informed late Tuesday night of the situation in Kabul but he had been attempting to get Biden on the phone since Monday morning, according to press reports. Meanwhile, former UK ambassadors weighed in on what they view as an ‘uneasy’ relationship between President Biden and Prime Minister Johnson. Reports indicate that UK military commanders were cut out of key talks between the U.S. and the Taliban which left them not knowing when they would be forced to pull their troops out. By Wednesday the UK Parliament labeled the U.S. withdrawal as “shameful.” The criticism is aimed at the way Biden withdrew and the fact that it was so chaotic. Lord Darroch, previously Britain’s top diplomat in Washington during the Trump presidency, assessed U.S.-UK relations as follows: “But at the political level, the comparative absence of dialogue between the Prime Minister and the president, ever since Biden took office, combined with the apparent lack of consultation about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite our having been the second biggest contributors to the effort in Afghanistan, speaks to a relationship that really isn’t very close.”
As if all that was not enough, Biden is being relentlessly hounded by the American press about what is actually happening on the ground in Afghanistan and finding himself in the uncomfortable position of having to answer to his own contradictions. Some are even questioning where Biden is getting his information from. Senior Foreign Correspondent for ABC News, Ian Pannell told the press that he was an eyewitness to beatings at the airport and reported that Americans told him of their harrowing experiences to gain access to the airport. Pannell called Biden out on his claim that no American had problems accessing the airport when he said: “the reality and the rhetoric are miles apart.” Though Biden reiterated that whatever needs to be done to get Americans out will be done – Pannell added: “I’m not quite sure what advice the president is receiving. But the truth on the ground is that these people who are in fear of their lives, can’t get through.”