Issues & Insights
President Joe Biden on end of war in Afghanistan. Screen shot, CNBC.

Sorry, The Afghan War Isn’t Over Until We Rescue All Those Left Behind

In what can only be called a shocking lack of self-awareness, President Joe Biden this week bragged about his “extraordinary success” in Afghanistan. Now his handlers and the Democratic Party are urging Americans and, of course, the media to “move on.” But there is no moving on from his botched departure from Kabul, whose ill effects will be felt by Americans for decades.

Far from a success, the “evacuation” was in fact an ill-planned, incompetently executed, chaotic dash to cram as many human beings as possible onto planes and transport them away from Kabul. The new talking point is that “only” 100 or so Americans may have been left behind, despite Biden’s explicit promise that none would be.

The media, which for several days seemed actually to be doing their job, are now falling in line with the new White House-Democratic Party spin. Afghanistan is now a yesterday story.

As National Review noted on Thursday:

“Today is the day that the U.S. media begins its pivot away from Afghanistan. The front page of the New York Times features Hurricane Ida’s rains hitting New York City, and the Supreme Court’s declining to block Texas’ new abortion law. Those are the same two top stories at the Washington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.”

While the administration, in one of the epic political spin jobs ever, lauds itself for its evacuation efforts, the truth is it likely left far more Americans and deserving Afghans in Kabul than estimated. That means victims and/or hostages for the now-jubilant, victorious Taliban, an intolerable situation.

Data from earlier this week estimated 116,700 people were evacuated from Afghanistan. “In fact, while only 5,400 or so Americans were brought to safety, only about 8,500 SIV holders were rescued, with the vast majority left behind,” RedState reports.

That number of Americans sticks in our craw. Just two weeks ago, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said this: “There are individuals who will self-identify as American citizens. That number is around 11,000 around the country.”

So if 5,400 left, where are the other 5,000 plus? How can we be confident of White House and State Department estimates that seem to change mainly to suit White House PR needs?

So it’s not over. This is very much Mission Not Accomplished.

The Associated Press ran the heart-rending story of Javed Habibi, a green card holder from Richmond, Virginia, trying to flee with his wife and four daughters out of Afghanistan. One of his daughters was born in the U.S.

He was repeatedly assured that his family would be evacuated. After all, Biden himself promised, 21 times by one count, that he would leave “no one behind.”

The AP report continues:

Late Monday, however, (Habibi’s) heart sank as he heard that the final U.S. flights had left Kabul’s airport, followed by the blistering staccato sound of Taliban gunfire, celebrating what they saw as their victory over America.

‘They lied to us,’ Habibi said of the U.S. government.

Because the administration is now shutting down information on those who remain, we don’t know how many Javed Habibis or American students, workers, and others actually remain there.

Even some within the Biden White House get what an epic disaster this is.

“I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,” an administration official told Politico, on the condition he not be named. “It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO [non-combatant evacuation operations], and we have failed that no-fail mission.” 

As for those non-Americans who did make it out, why were they prioritized over American citizens and those with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs)? And why are private groups now having to run daring rescues of our own citizens, something it’s our government’s sworn job to do under the Constitution?

Let’s do the math. By our count, a total of just 13,900 American citizens and Afghan SIV holders were evacuated. That leaves about 103,000 others. Of those, “(T)he Biden administration is looking to bring in some 50,000 Afghan refugees into the U.S.,” writes Thomas Gallatin. “Roughly 20,000 are already here, with the balance at U.S. military installations overseas.”

We’ll ask the indelicate question: Are some of them perhaps terrorists? Before you reject the idea, note that the Biden administration handed out blank visa papers in the days and weeks before Kabul fell. How many of those were copied and used by terrorists or other criminals to get into America? We’re not the only ones worried.

“(The threat) is the entry of al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the groups of refugees that are being taken out of Afghanistan and possibly to the United States because of the lack of vetting procedures that would normally go on to expedite getting all of these people out of Afghanistan,” former FBI counterterrorism special agent Kenneth Gray told the Washington Examiner.

Thanks to Biden’s botched withdrawal and his betrayal of our own citizens and allies, things in Afghanistan are beyond grim. The Taliban has lengthy execution lists, and plenty of time to hunt people down. Thousands of interpreters and others who helped us in Afghanistan face capture, torture, and execution.

Meanwhile, the administration is already talking about “foreign aid” for the Taliban regime, which, in effect, already makes de facto hostages of the American citizens still there.

Moreover, China, Russia, and Iran will no doubt vie to fill the vacuum we left, while terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS once again have a homeland. So, no, the Afghan war isn’t over, Mr. President. In some ways, it’s just begun. At the very least, it can’t end until all our citizens return.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Biden has surrounded himself with ultra-protective YES and NO people. The pit is there are not enough practical common-sense people who know how to say “NO” in suchn terms as he needs to be advised in. He is as incompeternt as demonstrated, I pity the real Americans who must be beside themselves. Whenb does he go on trial for being associated with the murder of US citizens in Afghanistan? He is destroting the WQestern Alliance on his own!!

  • “This is very much Mission Not Accomplished.” I&I

    For the Democrats, it will always be Mission Accomplished, as was Benghazi, Libya, the USA southern border, Cuomo’s nursing home “killing fields”, etc. President Trump summed it up accurately during the campaign: The Democrats are not fit to govern. Of course, they lie to Afghans, just like they lie to Americans who are so gullible that they never stop believing in lies. Obamacare was sold on lies. And those 3x/year jabbing-care mandates and climate-care mandates from these same people will have the same bad results. But if chaos and destruction are part of the progressive or totalitarian socialist revolution, then from the Democrat perspective everything is coming up roses and it is Mission Accomplished. The Taliban are loving it, as they are now a well-armed state, and from what I read the USA has deleted all records of weapons lost in Afghanistan from its web sites and databases. No doubt all these left behind in Afghanistan will be reclassified, purged from the databases and become officially non-existent.

  • Congratulations Joke Xiden ! So not only has he enabled thousands of hostile Afghanis to enter the US by his bumbling stampede from the country, but any goodwill our Afghani allies may have had will be wiped out by the callous indifference shown to their families left behind. Then there are the families of NATO personnel abandoned by this disgusting example of American credulity. America may not have long to wait for a change of POTUS,after all. Any wonder he cannot sleep. Can he feel the hatred ? Should have bought the Pope mobile when it was available. Will any decent Security officer intercept a bullet for this……? Or will the Indira Gandhi exit be repeated ?

  • Sundance at CT made an astute observation: For the thousands of Americans supposedly rescued and brought home, we have seen no videos of them entering airports, greeted by their families, or human interest stories on local tv. None.

  • We will be warring with the apocalyptic nihilism of jihadism for the foreseeable future. And yes, it will be an asymmetric battle for which a weary Western world has little patience. The Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian rules will not apply to our enemy, but we will be held to account if our rules of engagement are abridged. History has taught us that over the horizon counterstrikes are only a feel-good, a fleeting drone balm which provides no permanence. And what of our woke culture warriors? Will they find the evils of jihadism equivalent to the evils of whiteness/capitalism/patriotism and everything non-woke, and decide that conscientious objection is the proper moral path? Will the demoralization of defeat and ill-conceived withdrawal of forces erode our will in battles to come and enfeeble our spirit as it did post-Vietnam?

  • Biteme is a fool always has been .The hell of it is he is a crooked fool and God alone knows how much he has stolen from the tax payers.Now he has sold us out again and the military except for the woke joint chiefs and the traitor sec of defense.This guy is a total disgrace to the entire free world .He needs to be impeached and sent to prison. Any one taking bets on that ever happening he is a dem/communist they get by with murder and that is what he has done.

  • It’s also not over as long as drone attacks and bombings from American aircraft continue. A really stupid policy considering how many Americans are still trapped there.

  • While the authors briefly mention those Afghans brought to the US, they don’t delve further into the repercussions those of us will face in the areas in which these people are settled. The EU has seen a significant increase in crime where these refugees have been inserted – they do not assimilate, and we are told we must respect their culture. I would heartily disagree – we already know about the issues our military faced there in AFG when confronted with their “culture” of Baca Bazi boys – when our military could hear the brutalization of these children by the afghan soldiers, they were told to “ignore” it, it is their “culture”…it will be coming here. And then, what will we do when we hear those cries? I suspect many will obey when told to “shut up and leave them alone – it is their “culture””. These people should have been evacuated to another ME country, NOT brought here, especially without a lick of vetting. Just look at what has happened to Minneapolis and Dearborn and Hamtramck?

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