On Tuesday, October 26 during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. military leaders faced intense questioning about the poorly executed American withdrawal from Afghanistan. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that he believes they should resign.
Hawley explained, “We had a rapidly deteriorating, frankly disastrous, situation in Afghanistan which resulted in the death of 13 soldiers…Hundreds of civilians and hundreds of Americans left behind. And in my view, that mission can’t be called a success in any way shape or form logistical or otherwise… I think there’s no other way to say it, and there has to be accountability. I respectfully submit it should begin with you.”
The Afghanistan upheaval Hawley referred to was discussed in greater length on “Washington Watch” Monday as Tony Perkins interviewed Congressman Pat Fallon (R-Texas), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, about the shocking story of the Biden administration’s dishonesty on Afghanistan.
Tony asked Fallon whether he was surprised to hear that the administration had finally admitted that there are actually more than 100 Americans still stranded in Afghanistan.
It seemed Fallon wasn’t surprised. “This administration has proven one thing,” Fallon replied. “They first start by just ignoring an issue. It doesn’t matter how severe or dire it is, then they’ll deflect and then they obfuscate and then they’ll just spit out falsehoods. And then only then when they’re caught, will they admit the truth.”
“So right now, we’re looking at about three hundred and sixty-three American citizens, and just under 200 permanent residents that [have been flown out.] That number is not 100. That number is 500. And it doesn’t surprise me because they just hope against hope that their media allies won’t expose the truth.”
Tony pointed out that State Department spokesman Ned Price recently said that he would not confirm how many Americans are in touch with the State Department in total. But Price went on to explain that the number of people wanting to leave has grown, “because they were disappointed with what’s happening in Afghanistan.”
Tony asked Fallon, “Do you buy that?
“Oh, no, I don’t know anybody who had been living in Afghanistan, who doesn’t know who the Taliban are… these are folks that were shooting women for conjugating verbs or going to school. Anybody that dares not share their strict view and specific view of Islam will be repressed. So no, it’s nothing new. And it’s just again more obfuscation from this Biden regime.”
During the interview specific dates were discussed; these are highly relevant to piecing together the truth amidst the administration’s spin.
On August 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “We believe there are still a small number of Americans under 200 and likely closer to 100 who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.”
On August 31, President Biden said, “Now we believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan, with some intention to leave.”
On September 5, Biden’s chief of staff said “We believe it’s around 100. We’re in touch with all of them.” Then separately, on September 10th State Department deputy spokesman Jalina Porter said. “So again, the situation on the ground is really fluid and about a hundred in that number that we have of U.S. citizens.”
With that in mind, Tony asked \Fallon, “does this call into question any type of intel or fact that we get from this administration when it comes to their foreign policy?”
“You have to suspect it because they’re breaching trust here,” Fallon replied. “This is propaganda. This is not information…They go with the lie and they repeat it enough times to where they think it just will. You know, it’s kind of like baloney against the wall, except lives are at stake.”
Congressman Fallon is not alone in his views.
On Friday, October 22, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, accused the administration of misleading the American public. “For weeks, their official number was ‘about a hundred’ and it magically never changed – as Americans slowly got out the total number never went down. Now they say more than 300 Americans are still in Afghanistan,” Sasse said in a statement.
On October 26, Family Research Council was separately told by sources on the ground in Afghanistan about one specific group of volunteers that is currently focusing their attention on 20 American citizens along with 92 family members, totaling 112; and 46 legal permanent residents (LPRs) with 254 other family members, totaling 300. Thus, despite U.S. promises and claims in the news media, these 412 individuals were left behind during U.S. evacuation efforts.
Meanwhile, there is increasing urgency among the many other volunteers who continue Afghan rescue-and-evacuation efforts. The New York Times reported earlier in October, that in the face of these efforts there has been an uptick in retributive attacks by the Taliban. U.S. Army Lt. Col. (ret.) and Congressman Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) reported that his office recently received a video of a woman who had served in the Afghan National Army who had been nearly beaten to death, her arms and ribs broken.
According to an Army Times account, tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans, many of whom aided U.S. forces and contractors in the past 20 years of conflict, also hope to leave the country. In fact, a group of Green Berets stationed at Fort Bragg is spending long nights and days on a volunteer basis, working with allies in Afghanistan, trying to coordinate rescues.
“Their hands are tied everywhere they go,” the Army Times article recently reported about the Green Beret efforts. “And then they’re still watching all these people dying, that saved them half of the time, looked out for them, gave them information they needed, some interpreters for them. And now they feel they’ve left these guys in harm’s way. And that’s opposite of their ethos and just soul crushing.”
Truly. Yet as Christians we must continue to pray – and act – to bring aid and hope to those facing difficulty and persecution.
Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom
Lela Gilbert is Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom and Coalitions Coordinator at Family Research Council, where she brings a lengthy record of advocating for persecuted believers and addressing current-day faith and freedom issues. Lela resided in Israel for ten years, from 2006 to 2017; she writes and speaks about the intensifying persecution of Christians, Antisemitism, and abuses of religious minorities across the world.
An award-winning writer, Lela has authored or co-authored more than sixty books, including Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner (Encounter Books, 2013) and Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson, 2013 — co-authored with Hudson Institute Fellows Nina Shea and Paul Marshall. Lela also served as editorial director of Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide, a volume co-authored by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Her work has appeared in Newsweek, Fox News, RealClearReligion, Jerusalem Post, Providence Magazine, National Review, Catholic Herald and other publications.
EDITORS NOTE: This FRC-Action column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.