Biden Promises All Americans Will Get Out of Afghanistan — But Doesn’t Say Same for Afghan Allies

August 20, 2021Dustin Jones
Photos courtesy of DVIDS and the White House.

Photos courtesy of DVIDS and the White House.

President Joe Biden reiterated Friday, Aug. 20, a pledge that the US would get all American citizens and their families out of Afghanistan. A deal brokered between the US and the Taliban this week promises safe passage to Hamid Karzai International Airport for Americans, he said. But that arrangement doesn’t pertain to vulnerable Afghans, many of whom are being actively hunted by the Taliban, according to a wide range of reporting in the region.

In his presidential address, Biden said the situation in Kabul had improved in the last few days. With approximately 6,000 US troops on the ground, the evacuation efforts at the airport have achieved some sense of a steady rhythm. Biden said 13,000 Americans and at-risk Afghans have been flown out of the country, including 5,700 on Thursday.

US Marines assist with security at an evacuation control checkpoint at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 20. US service members are assisting the Department of State with a noncombatant evacuation operation in Afghanistan. US Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla.

But tens of thousands of Afghans continue to wait and pray outside the airport for a way out. And while the president acknowledged the growing humanitarian crisis in Kabul, he dodged questions surrounding reports of Taliban fighters preventing people from reaching the airport.

Biden repeatedly said the US was in constant communication with the Taliban. He also said, to the best of his knowledge, there have been no issues with US citizens and their families getting past Taliban checkpoints to reach the airport.

However, US authorities are unsure of how many Americans may still be in the city, he said.

Biden acknowledged that getting to the airport was proving to be a very different task from getting into the airport. Earlier this week, US forces had to help 169 Americans scale the airport perimeter wall to get them into the airport.

“Let me be clear: Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” Biden said. He did not make a similar guarantee to the many Afghans seeking to flee the country after assisting the US in its war efforts over the last two decades.

Across the country, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in recent weeks as the Taliban conquered city after city and province after province on its march to Kabul. Armed militants also seized control of the motorways and borders, forcing Afghans to seek a last, best chance at escape in Kabul.


But a series of desperate videos emerging from the airport have shocked much of the American public and the world. Videos circulating on social media earlier this week show parents passing children to the hands of American soldiers along the airport’s walls. A now-infamous video showed crowds swarming around an Air Force C-17 as it taxied to take off. Human remains were discovered in the underbelly of one American aircraft that left Kabul early in the week. A young Afghan soccer star was caught on camera as he fell to his death after trying to cling to a plane.

Biden referenced the flood of images in his remarks, noting that they depicted how desperate many are to leave in the chaotic aftermath of Taliban seizure.

“The past week has been heartbreaking. We have seen gut-wrenching images of panicked people acting out of sheer desperation,” Biden said. “You know, it’s completely understandable — they’re frightened, they’re sad, they’re uncertain of what happens next. I don’t think any one of us can see these pictures and not feel that pain on a human level.”

Read Next: The Fall of Kabul: Is History Repeating Itself in Afghanistan?

Dustin Jones
Dustin Jones

Dustin Jones is a former senior staff writer for Coffee or Die Magazine covering military and intelligence news. Jones served four years in the Marine Corps with tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. He studied journalism at the University of Colorado and Columbia University. He has worked as a reporter in Southwest Montana and at NPR. A New Hampshire native, Dustin currently resides in Southern California.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Dear Jack: I'm Retiring From The Military — Help!

In this installment of “Dear Jack,” Marine veteran Jack Mandaville helps a career service member figure out life after retirement.

March 31, 2023Jack Mandaville
navy chaplains suicide prevention
US Navy Deploys More Chaplains For Suicide Prevention

Growing mental health distress in the ranks carries such grave implications that the U.S. chief of n...

March 31, 2023Associated Press
ukraine lessons learned
Opinion & Essay
Nolan Peterson: Lessons From Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

After living in and reporting from Ukraine the last nine years, conflict journalist Nolan Peterson h...

March 30, 2023Nolan Peterson
black hawk crash kentucky
9 Killed In Army Black Hawk Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Nondice Thurman, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, said Thursday morning that the deaths happened the previous night in southwestern Kentucky during a routine training mission.

March 30, 2023Associated Press
richard stayskal act military medical malpractice
DOD Denies Most Stayskal Act Malpractice Claims

Master Sgt. Richard Stayskal was diagnosed with lung cancer long after military doctors missed a tum...

March 29, 2023Maggie BenZvi
ukrainian wounded soldiers
‘On Tour In Hell’: Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Evacuated

With bandaged heads and splinted limbs, the wounded soldiers are stretchered into the waiting medica...

March 27, 2023Associated Press
US oil mission
US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Worker

While it’s not the first time the U.S. and Iran have traded airstrikes in Syria, the attack and the ...

March 24, 2023Associated Press
The Gift jason dunham
‘The Gift’ Explores the Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Jason Dunham

"The Gift" tells the story of the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War. ...

March 24, 2023Mac Caltrider
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved