Stranded (Not Stranded), cont’d

Joe Biden and his administration want to move on from the epic humiliation of the United States that it engineered in Afghanistan. It sought to move on even while the humiliation was in process. The lack of a sense of shame has proved key to the persistence of Biden and administration officials throughout.

Our humiliation is sure to be compounded in the coming days as news emerges of those we left behind and of those we brought out. Yesterday, for example, the AP published Kathy Gannon’s story “Those left in Afghanistan complain of broken US promises.”

We know we left behind American citizens, but we also left behind those with visas and green cards, among others who should have been brought out. Gannon opens her story:

Even in the final days of Washington’s chaotic airlift in Afghanistan, Javed Habibi was getting phone calls from the U.S. government promising that the green card holder from Richmond, Virginia, his wife and their four daughters would not be left behind.

He was told to stay home and not worry, that they would be evacuated.

Late Monday, however, his 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. He is among hundreds of American citizens and green card holders stranded in the Afghan capital.

Gannon cites comments Secretary of State Blinken and State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland (provided with the assistance of AP diplomatic correspondent Matt Lee) before cutting back to Habibi:

Habibi, an electrician who has lived in Richmond since 2015 on a special immigration visa, had returned to Afghanistan for a visit on June 22 — the first time his family had been back since 2019. Their return flight was to have been Aug. 31.

About Aug. 18, Habibi said he got an email from the U.S. government saying that his family — all green card holders except for their youngest, who has a U.S. passport — would be evacuated.

Subsequent emails said he should take his family to the airport. He obeyed, but the mad crush of people prevented him from getting near the gate on his first two attempts.

His daughter, Madina, who at 15 has flawless English and serves as the family spokesperson, said she and her younger sister were almost trampled at the airport. The family wrote back, “It’s too dangerous. We can’t go into the crowd,” she said.

The emails kept arriving, saying they should go to the airport, she said.

By Aug. 25, the emails had been replaced by phone calls from Arlington, Virginia, Madina said. The callers, who identified themselves as being from the U.S. Embassy, told the family to stay at home and that the government was aware of their location, she said, speaking for her father.

Habibi said he still made four or five more attempts, even recruiting friends and relatives to wade into the crowd with the family, forming a kind of protective cordon. The youngest of the four girls, Dunya, is 2 and was born in the U.S.

Habibi said that on at least two occasions, he got close enough to the gate that his passport was scanned but was refused entry. He shouted at the U.S. soldiers, waving his documents.

“What does this green card even mean? Nothing. They did nothing,” he said.

Madina, who spoke to most of the callers from Virginia, said she told them the family was from Richmond. Even as the evacuations came to an end, Madina said one caller promised, “We are going to get you out. You are not going to get stuck. Don’t worry. We know where you are.”

Habibi said they even pledged to pick them up in a car.

“They lied. They did nothing,” he said.

Habibi says he hasn’t been threatened by the Taliban and that no one has bothered him but he is still afraid. News stories and horrifying posts on social media have him convinced that the Taliban will kill him, he said, although he admitted he doesn’t know of anyone being targeted.

“I’m just afraid. I follow the news,” he said.

He said he knows of many families, some with U.S. green cards, who remain in Afghanistan.

Gannon has more, all representative of the disgrace the administration seeks to bury.

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