A stunning new exposé in The Wall Street Journal contradicts just about everything the American public has been told over the past week about the supposed "extraordinary success" of America's "largest airlift in history".
"The US left behind the majority of Afghan interpreters and others who applied for visas to flee Afghanistan, a senior State Department official said on Wednesday," according to the WSJ report, which emphasizes that "as many as 100,000 Afghans may be eligible for relocation" - but the vast majority of these were left behind.
Specifically the numbers relate to those local allies who qualified for the Special Immigrant Visa. The Pentagon as of last Friday said it up to that point it had been able to only get about 7,000 Special Immigrant Visa Afghans out.
But according to The Wall Street Journal:
Over 20,000 Afghans who had applied for the Special Immigrant Visa program remained in Afghanistan when Kabul fell to the Taliban on Aug. 15, according to advocacy groups and congressional officials.
Including their family members, as many as 100,000 Afghans may be eligible for relocation.
The anonymous State Department official was asked to estimate how many remain trapped inside the country despite their eligibility based on a number of special visa programs: "I would say it’s the majority of them," the official stated bluntly. "Just based on anecdotal information about the populations we were able to support."
"Everybody who lived it is haunted by the choices we had to make and by the people we were not able to help," the official added.
"The majority" of Afghans who worked for the United States during its two decade military campaign were likely left behind in the chaotic and rushed evacuation from Afghanistan, a senior State Department official said Wednesday https://t.co/aN6sOBfQz4— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) September 1, 2021
In the domino-effect of errors that plagued the last ten days of the evacuation operation, the thousands of Afghans crowding airport entrances often blocked the ability of others, including visa applicants and even Americans, from reaching US checkpoints. In other instances they were also blocked by the Taliban long before reaching the vicinity of the airport perimeter.
This despite "every credential we tried to provide electronically was immediately disseminated to the widest possible pool" - according to the US official. But clearly the prospect of physically getting to within close distance of a US checkpoint amid the mass crush at the airport proved elusive and disastrous for most.