Coverage for this event has ended.
U.S. equity futures are poised for a rebound following Thursday's decline as chaos deepened in Afghanistan following two explosions outside the airport in Kabul.
As of late Thursday night, Dow Industrial futures gained 0.2% or 75 points, S&P futures are gaining 10 points and Nasdaq futures are up 0.3% or 48 points.
In Thursday's Wall Street session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 192 points or 0.54%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.58% and 0.64%, respectively.
Both the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite index closed at all-time highs on Wednesday.
In energy markets, U.S. crude is up 59 cents at $67.97 per barrel.
Stocks have fallen in Asia the tension creeps up in Afghanistan, with President Biden vowing to retaliate for a terrorist strike that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members in Kabul.
S&P 500 futures dropped 0.1% this morningv in Tokyo, while the S&P 500dipped 0.6%.
Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 dipped 0.6%.
Lt. Col. Omar Hamada, M.D., told Fox News on Thursday that American military forces are "conceding" as evacuation efforts continue in Afghanistan, warning that the Taliban will "own the entire country by Sunday."
"It's pretty devastating," Hamada said during an interview with Fox News regarding the ongoing events in Afghanistan. "All American forces are currently being moved out and Kabul airport is being evacuated as we speak. We're conceding."
The United States saw the deadliest day for American troops in 10 years Thursday, after at least 13 service members were killed and 18 others injured in a suicide bomb attack outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul airport.
Dozens of Afghan citizens were also killed after thousands flooded to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in an attempt to flee the Taliban-ridden country, less than two weeks after the collapse of Afghanistan.
Retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor took aim at President Biden's handling of the draw down from Afghanistan, comparing it to the infamous Benghazi incident that resulted in the deaths of multiple Americans.
"You're seeing the lapses in security, the absence of realistic planning, bad leadership from the top, a failure to outline specifically what the goal was, which I think very clearly was to get all the American citizens and allied citizens out, before we withdrew any military power," Macgregor said.
"All of this looks a lot like Benghazi on steroids," he added.
The 2012 Benghazi attack resulted in the death US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Over 800,000 Americans have served in Afghanistan since October 2001, according to the Pentagon. And as news and images spread of the fall of Kabul, many are experiencing a range of emotions.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says calls to the Veterans Crisis Line increased as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August.
"I can see how people would struggle with ... what was it all for?" said Steven Cole, who served as an Army public affairs officer in Kabul from 2009 to 2010.
"I did leave a wife and two kids alone, and those are years I can’t get back," Cole said.
Twitter users reacted to what some claimed to be the "defining image" of President Joe Biden’s recent press conference.
On Thursday, Biden held another press briefing to discuss the recent bombings at Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of 13 U.S. service members and wounding 15 others.
After condemning ISIS-K for the attack, Biden took questions from the press, including Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.
With the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan after nearly 20 years, pilots have had to navigate a chaotic scene at Kabul’s airport where thousands of people have flocked to in recent weeks in a desperate bid to escape Taliban rule and a country descending further into turmoil.
The airport itself is difficult to get to, being at a high altitude and surrounded by mountains. Pilots must rely on their onboard Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to avert crashes
"I can confirm that subsequent to Gen. McKenzie's remarks, a thirteenth U.S.service member has died from his wounds suffered as a result of the attackon Abbey Gate," CENTCOM spokesperson Capt. Bill Urban said. "The latest number of injured is now 18, all of whom are inthe process of being aeromedically evacuated from Afghanistan on speciallyequipped C-17s with embarked surgical units."
"We continue to provide the bestpossible medical care to those injured. Our thoughts and prayers continue tobe with the injured and to the friends and family of those who were killed."
"This is a solemn day for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team. Those warriors who died gave their lives to save thousands of men, women and children, Americans and Afghans alike.
Their courage and selflessness represent the highest ideals of America. We pay solemn tribute to their sacrifice.
To the families and loved ones who grieve – you are not alone. We stand beside you in this pain, humbled by the loss of these heroes, grateful that individuals of such valor chose to serve among us."
President Biden raised eyebrows on Thursday as he began taking questions from reporters for the first time since the Kabul terror attacks.
Hours after two suicide bombings outside the airport that left at least 13 U.S. servicemen dead, Biden broke his silence and offered a somber message to the nation amid the military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
While it has become normalized for the president to rely on a list of pre-selected reporters, he made a rather stunning admission in the process.
"This is a day where U.S. service members, 12 of them, lost their lives at the hands of terrorists. It's not a day for politics," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said after some GOP lawmakers called for Biden to resign.
"Speaker Pelosi has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of the U.S. Servicemembers and others killed in the bombings outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan today," a spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
President Biden did not deny a report circulating Thursday that officials in his administration had provided names of Americans in Afghanistan to the Taliban in order to help usher them safely to the airport.
"There have been occasions where our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this bus is coming through...made up of the following group...let it through," the president said. "Yes, there have been occasions like that."
Biden added that to his knowledge, the "bulk of that group" has been let through but can't say with "certitude" that there was a list of names passed to the Taliban.
President Biden reiterated his attempt to have U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline, even after the deadly terrorist attack claimed the lives of 12 U.S. service members.
But the president also said the effort to get Americans and Afghan allies out of the country would go on.
"We're going to try to continue to get you out. It matters," Biden said.
President Biden to ISIS-K terrorists: "We will hunt you down and make you pay."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement about the bombing that claimed the lives of 12 U.S. service members in Kabul while issuing a warning to lawmakers not to travel to Afghanistan.
"Today, we suffered the loss of life of at least twelve U.S. servicemembers and dozens of civilians from the terrorist attack outside of the Kabul airport," Pelosi said. "We mourn the loss of every innocent life taken, and we join every American in heartbreak over the deaths of the Americans and all killed."
"Sadly, the gravity of the situation in Afghanistan necessitates reiterating that Members must not request or plan visits to the region," the statement continued. " The Departments of Defense and State have explicitly stated that Member travel to Afghanistan and surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating Americans and Afghans at risk. It should be clear that any Member presence presents a danger and an opportunity cost of resources, regardless of whatever value that Members consider they may add by such trips."
Pelosi's statement comes after Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton and GOP Rep. Peter Meijer, both veterans, made an unannounced trip to Kabul in a move that angered some lawmakers and Biden administrations officials.
The United States has fought against the Taliban, al Qaeda and the Haqqani insurgent groups in Afghanistan for the last two decades, but counter-terrorism experts warn that the imminent threat ISIS-K poses could prove catastrophic. Following multiple attacks near the Kabul airport Thursday, Pentagon officials blamed ISIS, and the terror network claimed responsibility.
The group referred to as ISIS-K is the "Khorasan" branch of the Islamic State, located in Afghanistan. Khorasan is a historic name for the broader region.
The insurgent group formed after a faction within the Taliban splintered and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – in October 2014.
FIRST ON FOX: A source briefed on the situation in Kabul told Fox News that some Americans stranded in Afghanistan will likely be left behind after Thursday's bombings.
The source told Fox News that "hundreds" of ISIS-K fighters remain in the vicinity of the Kabul airport and that the attacks are "likely to continue."
"Military continues to retrograde and depart [the] airport," the source told Fox News. "Almost a certainty that Americans will be left behind."
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement Thursday offering condolences to the families of U.S. service members who died in an explosion at Kabul's airport.
"Melania and I send our deepest condolences to the families of our brilliant Service Members whose duty to the U.S.A. meant so much to them," Trump said. "Our thoughts are also with the families of the innocent civilians who died today in the savage Kabul attack."
"This tragedy should have never been allowed to happen, which makes our grief even deeper and more difficult to understand," Trump continued.
"May God bless the U.S.A."
"We have received confirmation that roughly 500 of the 1,500 Americans that we were tracking as potentially being in Afghanistan have been evacuated," a State Department spokesperson said.
"Over the past 24 hours, we heard from an additional roughly 500 people purporting to be Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave," the statement continued. "We immediately began attempting to reach these individuals by phone, text, and email. Based on our experience, many of these will not turn out to be U.S. citizens in need of our assistance."
McKenzie says evacuation flights will continue.
While acknowledging a “tough day,” Gen. McKenzie says the plans he has to evacuate Afghans and Americans is “designed to operate under stress.”
Gen. McKenzie just said since Aug. 14 the U.S. military has been sharing “information with the Taliban,” to prevent attacks since Aug. 14.
Gen. McKenzie: U.S. aircraft flying in and out of Kabul are getting shot at "on occasion."
Vice President Kamala Harris has cancelled her scheduled campaign event with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and will instead return to Washington, Fox News has confirmed.
The head of U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan says 12 U.S. service members were killed in the suicide attack outside the Kabul airport. 15 others were wounded.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command says two suicide bombers carried out the complex attack, which he attributed to ISIS.
McKenzie said ISIS gunmen also opened fire.
Twelve U.S. service members were killed in action in the suicide attack, officials tell Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson. Eleven were Marines and one was a Navy medic, they said.
A Taliban leader said that music will be banned in Afghanistan and women will need a male chaperone if they travel alone for a handful of days, while noting that the Taliban is looking to "build the future."
"If they go to school, the office, university, or the hospital, they don’t need a mahram," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an interview with The New York Times, explaining that women need a chaperone, or "mahram," during journeys of three days or longer.
Mujahid also explained that music in the country will be banned as it "is forbidden in Islam," adding that, "we're hoping that we can persuade people not to do such things, instead of pressure them."
At least 10 U.S. Marines and soldiers have been killed in the suicide bombing outside Kabul airport Thursday, U.S. officials tell Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson.
Dozens of service members have been wounded in the explosion as well, the officials added.
The death toll of the U.S. service members also is likely to rise, U.S. officials tell Fox News' Jennifer Griffin.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fired off a series of tweets Thursday reminding everyone it’s Women’s Equality Day – her first posts on the platform after explosions outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, left four U.S. Marines dead.
"Today, and every day, let us summon the suffragists’ spirit of hope and strive to lift up the voices of women across the nation – because we know this truth: when women succeed, America succeeds," Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted about noon Thursday.
"Despite progress, women across the nation still face barriers to full equality: from shameful pay disparities to the unfair economic impacts of the pandemic to the brazen assault on the right to vote. At this moment, Democrats are committed to Building Back Better with Women."
Click here to read more on Fox News.
Four U.S. Marines have been killed in the suicide attack outside of Kabul's airport and three have been wounded, U.S. officials tell Fox News' Jennifer Griffin.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says the U.S. "can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport.
"A number of others are being treated for wounds," he added. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed and injured.”
Four U.S. Marines have been killed in the explosion outside of Kabul's airport and 3 have been wounded, U.S. officials tell Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled an upcoming trip to Israel, where she was expected to join Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for a cabinet meeting on Sunday. The trip was cancelled due to "the tense situation in Afghanistan," according to a government spokesperson.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, is set to chair an emergency security meeting with the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) after he was updated on the explosions, Reuters reported.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
The Taliban's spokesperson, in a tweet, says the "Islamic Emirate strongly condemns the bombing of civilians at Kabul airport, which took place in an area where U.S. forces are responsible for security."
"The Islamic Emirate [of Afghanistan] is paying close attention to the security and protection of its people, and evil circle will be strictly stopped," the tweet added.
Two explosions outside the Kabul airport Thursday injured at least three U.S. Marines and others, as the U.S. attempts to continue its evacuations out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Terrorist group ISIS-K is suspected to be responsible for the attacks.
The extent of the injuries and deaths is not yet clear. Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirmed that there have been U.S. and civilian casualties.
One of the explosions occurred outside the Baron Hotel – but why attack this hotel in addition to such a high-profile target as the Hamid Karzai International Airport?
Click here to read more on Fox News.
A Canadian general has announced Thursday that his country has ended its efforts to evacuate people out of Kabul after bringing about 3,700 people to safety.
“We stayed in Afghanistan for as long as we could. We were amongst the last to cease evacuation operations. We wish we could have stayed longer and rescued everyone who was so desperate to leave,” Gen. Wayne Eyre, Canada’s acting chief of Defense Staff, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. “That we could not is truly heartbreaking, but the circumstances on the ground rapidly deteriorated.”
President Biden has met with his national security team this morning, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and commanders on the ground.
He will continue to be briefed on updates on the evolving situation throughout the day.
The Office of the Vice President also says Kamala Harris appeared by video on a 9:15 a.m. ET Situation Room meeting at the White House with President Biden. She is currently heading back to the U.S. following a diplomatic trip to Singapore and Vietnam.
A White House press briefing originally scheduled for noon ET has been delayed as changes to Biden’s schedule are being made as the events in Kabul unfold.
The United States has fought against the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Haqqani insurgent groups in Afghanistan for the last two decades, but counter-terrorism experts warn that the imminent threat ISIS-K poses could prove catastrophic.
Following multiple attacks near the Kabul airport Thursday, specific perpetrators were unclear, though ISIS-K was feared to have possibly played a role.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram is told the State Department has reached out to Congressional staff with an urgent message, begging them to cease directing people to the airport in Kabul to evacuate.
Fox News has been informed that Capitol Hill staff were still sending those messages to people trying to escape Kabul this morning.
Part of the message sent by the State Department to Capitol Hill today: “All staff engaging in this type of uncoordinated messaging to people on the ground must cease due to the security situation.”
Congressional sources tell Fox News’ Chad Pergram that the multiple explosions in Kabul could be a coordinated attack as part of an ongoing event and more may be to come.
Republicans are slamming the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan after multiple explosions outside of the Kabul airport, injuring at least three U.S. Marines.
"Mr. President, fix the mess you created. Stop running from it. We are still at war. You didn’t ‘end the war,’ you just gave the enemy new advantage. Go on offense, establish superiority, and don’t leave until all our citizens and allies are safe," Rep. Dan Crenshaw tweeted in response to the violence.
A suicide bombing outside of Abbey Gate at Kabul's airport injured at least 3 U.S. Marines Thursday, U.S. officials confirmed. It is unclear how many others were injured or killed.
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People are seen being escorted away from the site of an explosion outside Kabul's airport.
Bill, a witness in Kabul, Afghanistan, describes the situation at the Kabul airport following an explosion.
Smoke is seen rising from an explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. At least 3 U.S. Marines were injured in the blast, officials tell Fox News.
A suicide bombing outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul's airport in Afghanistan Thursday injured at least three U.S. Marines, U.S. officials confirmed.
A U.S. official indicated that the attack set off a firefight at Abbey Gate, where last night, there were 5,000 Afghans and potentially some Americans seeking access to the airport.
The bombing comes hours after the State Department warned Americans outside the gates of the Kabul airport to "leave immediately" due to the increasing terrorist threat.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin reports from the Pentagon on the attack on Kabul airport.
Carl, an Afghan witness to the Kabul airport explosion, describes what happened.
At least 3 U.S. Marines have been wounded in the explosion outside Kabul's airport, officials tell Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson.
The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan has just issued a new warning that "U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to the airport and avoid airport gates at this time."
"There has been a large explosion at the airport, and there are reports of gunfire," the alert said. "U.S. citizens who are at the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate now should leave immediately."
A second explosion has been reported near Kabul’s airport, Fox News has confirmed.
Capitol Hill sources tell Fox News’ Chad Pergram that the explosion happened outside Kabul’s airport after someone detonated a suicide vest.
Then a gunfight erupted. All airport gates processing evacuees are now closed and sources describe the incident as a “complex attack”.
At least 3 U.S. troops have been wounded in the suicide bombing outside Abbey Gate, U.S. officials tell Fox News.
The extent of the injuries are not clear.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
A White House official tells Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich that President Biden has been briefed about the explosion.
There was an explosion outside the Abbey Gate at Kabul airport, U.S. officials confirm to Fox News.
It’s not clear how many people are potentially injured or killed.
Last night, there were 5,000 Afghans and potentially some Americans outside Abbey Gate at the airport.
This explosion, again, it’s unclear how big, comes hours after the State Department warned Americans outside the gates of the Kabul airport to “leave immediately” due to the increasing terrorist threat.
Fox News has obtained images showing crowded conditions as evacuees from Afghanistan are being processed in Qatar.
A White House official said earlier Thursday that around 13,400 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan between 3 a.m. ET Wednesday and 3 a.m. ET this morning.
A total 5,200 U.S. troops currently remain at Kabul's airport, down from a peak of 5,800 a few days ago, Fox News has learned.
The U.S. military mission is likely to end in Kabul in the next three or four days, officials say.
Evacuation flights also are beginning to slow down. More than 13,000 evacuated yesterday -- but that is down 6,000 from the day before, according to the latest Pentagon stats.
Hundreds are still trying to escape Afghanistan despite U.S. advising people to leave the airport immediately over 'imminent' terror bomb threat. Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich reports.
A U.S. soldier holds a sign indicating a gate is closed as hundreds of people gather near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday.
America's nearly 20-year military mission to reshape Afghanistan was the United State's longest foreign war, with a death toll in the tens of thousands and a multitrillion-dollar price tag that future generations will be paying off for years to come.
The war in Afghanistan began in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, 2001 as part of former President George W. Bush's wider war against terrorism.
Four U.S. presidents have presided over the war. The cumulative cost of the war – including operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan – is $2.31 trillion, according to new figures published this week by the Brown University Costs of War project. That figure does not include future expenditures, including lifetime care for U.S. veterans or future interest payments on money borrowed to fund the war.
Click here to read more on Fox Business.
A White House official said Thursday that around 13,400 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan between 3 a.m. ET Wednesday and 3 a.m. ET this morning.
The evacuees left on 17 U.S. military and 74 coalition flights, the official added, noting that the U.S. has now evacuated or facilitated the evacuation of approximately 95,700 people since Aug. 14.
Vice President Kamala Harris said evacuating Americans and U.S. allies in Afghanistan is the administration’s "highest priority" while answering reporters’ questions in Vietnam on Thursday.
She reiterated the U.S. has already evacuated more than 80,000 people since the Taliban took Kabul earlier this month.
Still, thousands remained in limbo and the State Department issued a warning Thursday urging people to get away from the Kabul airport because of an "imminent" terrorist threat.
"Each day and night we continue to evacuate thousands, understanding it’s risky for them to be there," Harris told reporters in Hanoi, acknowledging it’s a "dangerous, difficult mission but it must be seen through and we intend to see it through as best we can."
She said the administration was working with allies to ensure "we keep a focus on this issue to do everything we can" regarding evacuations and to protect women and children living in the region.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
The possibility of an "imminent attack," perhaps within "hours," loomed over Kabul’s airport on Thursday, according to a British official.
James Heappey, Britain’s armed forces minister, told the BBC on Thursday there was "very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack" possibly targeting the airport in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of people have been gathering over the past two weeks in hopes of leaving the country.
Other warnings in Western capitals addressed possible threats from the Afghanistan affiliate of the Islamic State group, The Associated Press reported.
The latest reports followed a U.S. Embassy warning in Afghanistan that U.S. citizens who might be gathered at specific gates of the Kabul airport should "leave immediately."
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, however, dismissed the reports of possible attacks, calling them "not correct." But he did not elaborate, the AP reported.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
President Biden on Wednesday heard from two Democratic U.S. House members – each with defense experience – who seek an extension of Biden’s Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline.
U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey spoke with Biden after a bill signing ceremony at the White House, PBS reporter Meredith Lee posted on Twitter.
"We did not always agree," Slotkin wrote on Twitter about her conversation with the president, while a Sherrill spokesman described the meeting as a "frank conversation."
Numerous critics in Washington – from both parties -- have criticized Biden for sticking with the Aug. 31 deadline, claiming the president would be "abandoning" those who want to leave Afghanistan if evacuations can’t be completed by next Tuesday.
Slotkin, 45, a first-term congresswoman, is a former assistant secretary of defense, serving during the Obama administration, and also worked for the CIA.
Click here to read more on Fox News
A former translator for a high-ranking U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan told Fox News Wednesday the Taliban have begun publicly executing allies of the U.S. in provinces away from the media attention of Kabul.
The interpreter, who remained nameless for protection, warned of the Taliban retaliation on "The Faulkner Focus" and said he’s losing hope to free his family of American citizens still trapped in the country.
"They are not doing really bad stuff in Kabul right now because there's a lot of media focus on Kabul, but they already started public execution in other provinces where a lot of media is not available or covering it," the interpreter said.
"They started hunting down people in other provinces and they just executed a police officer yesterday and they did public hangings of four officers like last week… they are retaliating against people who sided with the U.S. and now the U.S. is leaving them behind."
Click here to read more on Fox News
The United States has fought against the Taliban, al Qaeda, and the Haqqani insurgent groups in Afghanistan for the last two decades, but counter-terrorism experts warn that the imminent threat ISIS-K poses could prove catastrophic.
The group referred to as ISIS-K is the "Khorasan" branch of the Islamic State, located in Afghanistan.
The insurgent group formed after a faction within the Taliban splintered and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria – in October 2014.
By 2015 the offshoot ISIS-K became formally recognized as a terrorist organization, Katherine Zimmerman, a fellow in foreign and defense policy for the American Enterprise Institute, told Fox News.
Zimmerman explained that the group has an even more hardline vision of its interpretation of Islam than the Taliban, and that has established an adversarial dynamic between the two terrorist organizations.
"They define their enemies differently," she said. "The Islamic State sees anybody who does not accept its vision as an enemy – that includes the Taliban, that includes the Shia, that includes the west," Zimmerman added.
Click here to read more on Fox News
A piece published in New York Magazine's Intelligencer complained how the media "manufactured" President Biden's "politico fiasco" regarding his handling of the turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Intelligencer writer Eric Levitz began his piece by touting how the Afghan withdrawal "has yet to cost our nation a single casualty" and that evacuations are proceeding "at a faster pace than the White House had promised."
"In other words, Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been a 'disastrous' and 'humiliating' 'fiasco,' in the words of the mainstream media’s ostensibly objective foreign-policy journalists," Levitz wrote. "Yet this political fiasco is not a development that the media covered so much as one that it created."
Click here to read more on Fox News
The House Problem Solvers Caucus has voted to officially call on President Joe Biden to extend the August 31 withdrawal date from Afghanistan as the administration scrambles to evacuate Americans stranded in Taliban-controlled Kabul.
"As Democrats and Republicans, we stand united in our commitment to protecting U.S. citizens, diplomats, intelligence officers, and our foreign partners who are currently attempting to flee Afghanistan," the statement endorsed by the caucus read. "In this time of tremendous danger, politics must be put aside to advance our common goals. From this week's bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration's set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives."
A Taliban spokesperson on Wednesday said no proof exists that implicates Usama bin Laden in the Sept. 11 terror attacks despite a mountain of evidence that connects the deceased al Qaeda leader to the airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
During an interview with NBC News's Richard Engel from Afghanistan, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid made the claim in response to a question about whether the country will again become a base for terrorism as the Biden administration prepares for the withdrawal of U.S.troops.
An Afghan refugee who escaped the Taliban 20 years ago is fighting for his family’s safe return amid the collapse of Afghanistan.
Mansur, who is now living in the United States, told "America’s Newsroom," Wednesday four of his family members are currently stranded in Afghanistan and warned President Biden to not trust the Taliban and "fall for their lies."
"I hope and I pray that the president hears this…he understands that we all have family members. We're all human. We're all trying. We all want our family to be safe," Mansur said. "Don't fall for their lies, don't listen to their stories, and do what you can to get as many people that want to get out as safely as possible, that includes these four beautiful people of mine as well, please."
President Biden is blatantly allowing the Taliban to take advantage of the United States, "The Five" co-host Jesse Watters argued Wednesday.
Watters said the major difference between Biden and Donald Trump's foreign policy approaches was the former president’s ability to assert dominance while the current commander in chief appears to cower to the threat of terrorism.
"He’s thanking the Taliban for letting Americans get to the airport; Americans are getting beaten on the way to the airport," he stressed. "I don’t see how this shakes out right now. I mean, say what you want about Trump, at least Trump killed terrorists. Joe Biden takes orders from terrorists."
A U.S. Air Force crew on an evacuation flight out of Kabul this week helped save hundreds of lives – and delivered a new one before touching down safely at a coalition airbase.
The flight nurse, Capt. Leslie Green, of the 375th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, told Fox News Wednesday it was the first time she’d ever helped deliver a baby.
"The hard part, she did by herself," she said of the Afghan woman whose healthy newborn daughter arrived minutes before landing. "The baby was perfect. [She] was small, a little bit small, definitely didn’t make full term, but came out crying – so she seemed to be doing well in this world."
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is warning U.S. citizens to stay away from multiple gates at Kabul's airport.
"Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," a security alert reads.
The alert also tells citizens to be "aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds."
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., called Wednesday for Biden administration officials to brief lawmakers on their efforts to vet Afghan refugees amid concerns that bad actors could seek to exploit chaotic withdrawal operations to enter the United States.
Comer detailed his concerns in letters to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. His request for a briefing came as the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate thousands of people still seeking to leave Afghanistan before President Biden’s Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
"Our country owes a moral obligation to those who put themselves at great personal risk to provide substantial assistance to coalition forces in Afghanistan. We therefore must work to ensure those individuals safe passage out of Afghanistan," Comer wrote in the letters. "It is no secret that terrorists and other bad actors will always seek to exploit any and all weaknesses in border security and vetting of foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States."
The four-star Air Force general overseeing U.S. European Command said Wednesday that the Afghan baby born on an evacuation flight last week has been named "Reach" in honor of the call sign of the aircraft on which she was delivered.
"We’ve had further conversations with the mom and the dad of the baby that was born the C-17 inbound to Ramstein," Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters told reporters. "They named the little girl Reach. And they did so because the call sign of the C-17 aircraft that flew them from Qatar to Ramstein was ‘Reach.’
"As you can well imagine being an Air Force fighter pilot, it’s my dream to watch that young child called Reach grow up and be a U.S. citizen and fly United States Air Force," he added.
Sen. Tom Tillis demanded answers after reports surfaced that Afghan allies, including Special Immigrant Visa holders, were no longer being allowed into Kabul's airport.
Pentagon sources confirmed to Fox News' Jennifer Griffin Wednesday that Afghan allies were facing Taliban checkpoints at every airport gate, with U.S. forces on the ground not intervening to assist them.
“My office is hearing reports from Afghan SIVs on the ground that over the last 12 hours they have been turned away at the gate at the Kabul airport and being told that only valid U.S. passport holders are allowed inside," Tillis said. "This obviously does not square with what the Biden administration has been emphasizing all day that Afghan allies remain a priority."
“U.S. Marines are consummate professionals. They follow orders and execute policy directives. They don’t freelance. The State Department is the entity calling the shots," Tillis continued.
“We need to immediately know who directed Marines to tell our Afghan allies at the gate that only U.S. passport holders are permitted inside, and whether this reflects a dramatic reversal in policy to not allow more of our Afghan allies into the airport.”
Some House members from both sides of the aisle were planning to head to Afghanistan despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy urging their members not to travel to the region, Fox News has learned.
The cohort of House members, both Republicans and Democrats, either were trying to get to Afghanistan or intended to travel there to assist in the evacuation effort of American citizens and others from Kabul, multiple sources have told Fox News.
It's believed that no additional House members were attempting Wednesday to travel to Afghanistan. However, Fox News is told some lawmakers could "freelance" and head there on their own in the future, despite the bipartisan admonitions.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was grilled about President Biden joking in response to a question about the crisis in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
Biden was asked by a reporter what he will do if Americans remain in Afghanistan after the Aug. 31 deadline, prompting the president to quip: "You’ll be the first person I call."
Fox News' Peter Doocy pressed Psaki on Biden's response to the reporter's question, asking her: "What's so funny?"
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was caught flat-footed during the daily press briefing when she was asked about a group of California students who are trapped in Afghanistan.
Psaki was asked Wednesday if she knew about an LA Times report that a group of students and their parents from California's El Cajon Valley School District are currently stranded in Afghanistan.
The reporter asked, "The L.A. Times has a story saying that a group of students and their parents are in Afghanistan. Do you have any more information on that or is that?--"
"I do not. Who have recently traveled into Afghanistan?" Psaki stated in response, appearing confused about the report cited.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that U.S. policy is still not to negotiate with terrorists, despite the Biden administration relying heavily on the statements and promises by Taliban leaders to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan.
During her daily press briefing, Psaki was asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy "Why haven't we heard the president say, ‘The United States does not negotiate with terrorists?’ Is that still U.S. policy?"
"Well, of course it is, Peter," Psaki replied. "But I would also say that there's a reality that the Taliban is currently controlling large swaths of Afghanistan. That is the reality on the ground, and right now our focus and our priority is getting American citizens evacuated and our Afghan partners evacuated.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that he believes less than 1,000 American citizens are still in Afghanistan attempting to leave.
Blinken said that there were 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan on August 14 and 4,500 of them have been evacuated within the last 10 days. He added that 500 of the remaining number have been instructed on how to leave within the last 24 hours.
"From the list of approximately 1,000, we believe that the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is lower, and likely significantly lower," Blinken explained.
Republicans tore into President Biden on Wednesday, claiming that the commander-in-chief’s pledge to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by August 31 could lead to a bigger hostage situation than Iran in 1979.
"We’re on the cusp of having the biggest mass hostage situation in American history," said Florida Congressman Michael Waltz. "It’s gonna make 1979 in Tehran look like a sleepover."
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Tuesday that President Biden's administration must agree to resettle a minimum of 200,000 Afghan refugees in the United States.
The self-described democratic socialist said in an interview that she supports raising the number of available Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to 200,000 as tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted coalition forces and others who are vulnerable to Taliban reprisal struggle to flee the country.
President Biden's upcoming meeting with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to center on the escalating crisis in Afghanistan, as well as other emerging threats to the U.S. and its allies due to the rise of terrorism in the region, experts predict.
Biden is set to hold a meeting at the White House Thursday with Prime Minister Bennett, the first in-person meeting between the two leaders. In a statement last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had said tensions with Iran are expected to be a focus of the discussion.
"The President and Prime Minister Bennett will discuss critical issues related to regional and global security, including Iran," said Psaki in a statement announcing the meeting. "The visit will also be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians and the importance of working towards a more peaceful and secure future for the region."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted President Biden for sticking to an Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan and said "thousands of Americans" could be left stranded in the Taliban-controlled country as a result.
"The president's misguided decisions run the risk of creating the largest international hostage situation we've ever faced as a nation," McCarthy, R-Calif., said at Capitol news conference on Wednesday.
A former U.S. Marine and CIA officer who served in Afghanistan tells Fox News he is now helping people flee the war-torn country by relaying information that helps identify them to American troops stationed at the packed gates of Kabul’s airport.
The source said Wednesday that he lucked out in that his former Marine infantry battalion is on the ground in Kabul, including the commanding officer who he went through training with at Quantico.
"I was able to reach out to him and say ‘hey I got this situation, these folks are trying to get through’ and he is at one of the gates and might be able to give us very specific instructions about how to navigate through the crowd and I was able tell him and his Marines exactly what the people trying to get out were wearing," the source said. "It was a very elaborate, kind of dramatic process trying to get them – and then once the Marines had identified them in the crowd, they very quickly snatched them up and [brought] them into the gate."
Click here to read more on Fox News.
The Pentagon says it was surprised that two members of Congress made an unannounced visit to the airport in Kabul yesterday.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he was "not encouraging" more VIP visits.
He told Fox News' Jennifer Griffin that Rep. Seth Moulton and Rep. Peter Meijer disrupted "what we were planning to do that day.”
Kirby said he wished both lawmakers, a Democrat and Republican, both combat veterans, had spoken to the defense secretary before making the trip.
The U.S. military launched another helicopter rescue mission outside the Kabul airport last night to rescue "less than'" 20 Americans, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby just said.
This is the third time American forces have launched helicopters to rescue Americans outside the airport.
There were nearly 6,000 U.S. troops on the ground at the Kabul airport at the peak military buildup to help Americans and Afghans evacuate the country after it fell to the Taliban.
Click here to watch.
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Images are emerging of Afghans standing in a canal outside Kabul’s airport as they attempt to flee the country.
The canal is filled with sewage, according to multiple media reports.
The Taliban is warning employed women in Afghanistan to stay indoors until it trains security forces on "how to deal with women."
"Our security forces are not trained [in] how to deal with women -- how to speak to women [for] some of them," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. "Until we have full security in place... we ask women to stay home."
He added that the guidance is a "very temporary procedure," and women will be allowed to return to work once a system is in place to protect their safety.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
The distressing images out of Afghanistan appear to be having an instant political impact. Biden’s numbers stand at 41% approval and 55% disapproval in a new USA Today/Suffolk University national poll.
That’s a dramatic drop for a president whose approval rating, until a week and a half ago, had averaged in the low to mid 50s since taking over in the White House in late January.
Click here to read more on Fox News.
Children wait to be evacuated at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday.
Protesters in a village outside of Amsterdam burned tires Tuesday night near a military base that is now housing Afghans who have been evacuated from Kabul, the Associated Press reports.
A police spokesperson told the news agency on Wednesday that there were no arrests following the demonstration in Harskamp.
The military base there reportedly can house 800 evacuees.
A White House official said Wednesday that around 19,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul over a 24-hour period after boarding 42 U.S. military and 48 coalition flights.
That brings the total number of evacuees on U.S. and coalition flights since Aug. 14 up to 82,300, the official added.
Poland announced Wednesday that it has stopped conducting evacuation flights out of Afghanistan.
“After a long analysis of reports on the security situation we cannot risk the lives of our diplomats and of our soldiers,” Marcin Przydacz, a deputy foreign minister, said following talks with U.S. and British officials, according to the Associated Press.
Poland last evacuated a group from Kabul to Uzbekistan, the AP adds.
An Afghan journalist is changing her location every day to hide from the Taliban, who she fears will kill her and anyone hiding her, she told Fox News in an interview.
"I don't know what will happen to me, because if they find me, they will kill me," the journalist said.
Fox News is concealing her identity to protect her from the Taliban. She said she was first barred from entering her newsroom, then left home out of fear that the Taliban would begin killing female journalists.
Another female journalist told Fox News a nearly identical story last week.
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At the request of the United States, 51 Afghan refugees arrived in Uganda on Wednesday.
The men, women and children were flown to the East African country on a chartered flight.
Ugandan officials said last week that the country would shelter up to 2,000 people fleeing the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan. They said the Afghans would be brought to Uganda in small groups in a temporary arrangement before they are relocated elsewhere.
“The decision to host those in need is informed by the government of Uganda's consistent policy of receiving refugees and persons in distress as well as playing a responsible role in matters of international concern," a statement from Ugandan officials said.
Uganda has long been a ally of the U.S., especially on security matters in the region.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Mexico accepted its first Afghan refugees into the country on Tuesday, including five from an all-girls robotics team. A man was also among the evacuees.
They were welcomed by Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, who told the group, “Welcome to your home.” Ebrard said Mexico would grant them “whatever legal status they consider best.” That could include giving them asylum or refugee status.
The robotics team had traveled through six countries to get to Mexico and one of the girls said the country had saved their lives. The Taliban has been hostile to women and girls working or going to school in the past.
The team has received threats from the Taliban.
In her "Ingraham Angle" monologue on Tuesday, host Laura Ingraham called on Congress to fully investigate what she called "Joe's Taliban deal" – after CIA Director William Burns traveled to Kabul to negotiate directly with Taliban leadership amid an intensifying geopolitical and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Ingraham said President Biden's behavior and decisions have been suspect in this regard ever since his unusual photograph sitting alone at Camp David's version of the situation room while on a teleconference.
"What was going on that none of Biden’s top Cabinet officials were with him at this pivotal time? Just extended alone time with Jill? Very odd," she said, adding that Burns' sudden diplomatic junket isn't surprising, but still deserves further scrutiny.
Texas Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw criticized President Biden after he heavily touted his multi-trillion-dollar spending package and economic policy platform in remarks Tuesday before addressing the escalating crisis in Afghanistan.
With Biden repeating his "Build Back Better" mantra in relation to the partisan "human infrastructure" bill, Crenshaw told "Fox News Primetime" all the president is doing is "building the Taliban back better."
"Every time you think of something you shouldn't do that's exactly what he does. He is building the Taliban back much better," he said. "That's exactly what he has done. He is not building America back better."
As thousands of people continue attempts to flee Afghanistan amid the Taliban's takeover and tightening grip on the country, a U.S. Army veteran is desperately trying to help 100 Afghans currently in hiding who worked at a medical clinic she helped open as evacuations have accelerated in recent days.
Anna Talerico, 53, a physician's assistant and retired military officer, served in Afghanistan in 2009. She returned to the country a few years later to help open American Medical Center – which provided medical services to Americans, Afghans and foreign nationals in Kabul, the capital. In addition, the facility provided physicals for special immigrant visa applicants.
NBC News' chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel tore into the Biden administration's handling of the turbulent Afghanistan withdrawal.
Appearing on MSNBC, Engel acknowledged that on a "tactical standpoint," it "makes a lot of sense" for the Biden administration to adhere to the August 31 withdrawal deadline because the Taliban will cease its cooperation with the U.S. and either "overwhelm" the exit processing at the Kabul airport or even amp up violence.
"But if you'd step back and look at what is going on, this is the United States, after 20 years, this war used to be called Operation Enduring Freedom, and it's turned out not to be enduring and they're not leaving a society that is free," Engel said on Tuesday. "It is only free according to what the Taliban says will be free, the Taliban promises that it will be free."
President Joe Biden appeared emotionless and stilted delivering remarks during his news conference; prioritizing Democrats' multi-trillion-dollar spending bills before speaking briefly about the intensifying crisis in Afghanistan, the panel on "The Five" said Tuesday.
Host Dana Perino, formerly the press secretary for President George W. Bush, criticized Biden's delivery, the prioritization of his political policy agenda over the Afghan crisis, and his refusal once again to take questions from the press.
"I screamed a little when he started with ‘Build Back Better’ -- I get it, the Democrats passed it in the House with their razor-thin margin $3.5 trillion in spending that will saddle you for the rest of your lives. But other than that…" she began.
Fox News' national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin unloaded on President Biden, spotlighting the plight of U.S. troops who are scrambling to keep up with the administration's ever-changing timeline and contradictory messaging surrounding the evacuation of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
"I'm trying to sort through my reaction," Griffin told "The Five" on Tuesday, moments after Biden announced his decision not to extend the Aug. 31 deadline to accommodate demands by the Taliban. "But," she said, "the first thing I would say is that what continues to be amazing to me is that every time the president speaks, he sets a deadline that then the military has to scramble to adjust to meet."
In its second press conference since taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban called on the United States to stop "inviting" Afghans to flee the country and said it would block access to the Kabul airport Tuesday.
"Our people, our engineers, our doctors, professors, and those who have been educated. The country needs their talent, and they should not be taken to foreign countries," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said according to the Wall Street Journal.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed some U.S. troops have already departed Afghanistan.
"As we have made consistently clear, commanders on the ground are empowered to make any adjustments they see fit, when they see fit," Kirby said in a statement Tuesday. "That includes changes to the footprint. To that end, we can confirm reports of the departure from Afghanistan of several hundred U.S. troops. These troops represent a mix of headquarters staff, maintenance and other enabling functions that were scheduled to leave and whose mission at the airport was complete. Their departure represents prudent and efficient force management. It will have no impact on the mission at hand."
Kirby also said that the mission in Kabul "remains the same," noting that forces still on the ground are focused on getting "as many people as we can before the end of the month."
"The mission remains the same, and as you heard from the President today, it remains on the same timeline," Kirby said. "We are focused on evacuating as many people as we can before the end of the month. The Secretary and military leaders are drawing up contingency plans should there be a need to reconsider this timeline. No such decision has been made."
The disaster unfolding in Afghanistan has shown in stark terms the incompetence and weakness of the Biden administration. In a matter of days, the Taliban was allowed to take over the entire country.
This feckless, poorly executed withdrawal is already calling into question American leadership from some of our closest allies, such as Germany and the United Kingdom and worse, emboldening our enemies.
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to President Joseph R. Biden urging him to use every available resource to secure the safe evacuation of American citizens and partners from Afghanistan.
The letter follows reports that the Taliban would not accept an American presence in Kabul beyond August 31 and that Afghan citizens would not be allowed to enter the airport in Kabul where evacuation operations are taking place.
“Like many Americans, I urge you not to allow the Taliban to set the timetable for evacuations. The United States should not answer to terrorists, and it is deeply troubling that the terms of U.S. evacuations are being set by the Taliban,” Wicker wrote in the letter.
Wicker also called on the President to uphold his vow to get Americans and Afghan allies out.
“I implore you to use all means necessary — including military force outside the Kabul airport — to ensure these persons are brought out safely,” Wicker said.
See the full letter to President Biden here.
Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about an American mom said to be stuck in Afghanistan one day after Psaki said it was "irresponsible" to claim that Americans were stranded in the country.
"You said yesterday it is irresponsible to say that Americans are stranded in Afghanistan right now. What do you say to the American citizen in Kabul right now that Fox spoke to this morning… she says ‘we are stranded at home. For four days, three days, we didn’t hear anything from anywhere. And they're saying to go to the airport but we're not being given clear guidance. Our emails are getting ignored,'" Doocy said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said during a Tuesday news conference that there is "no way" President Biden will be able to evacuate all of the Americans currently trapped in Afghanistan by the August 31 deadline.
"There's no possible way that we can get every American that's still in Afghanistan out in the next seven days," McCarthy said after leaving a classified briefing on the evacuation efforts.
"We are just 3 weeks away from the 20th anniversary of 9/11," the California Republican continued. "At no time should America … allow the Taliban to tell us when we have to stop bringing Americans out. We should stay until every single American is able to get out of Afghanistan.
Biden says Afghanistan withdrawal deadline depends on Taliban cooperating; US considering backup plans.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration expects Special Immigrant Visa applicants and other Afghans seeking to evacuate the country to safely reach Kabul’s airport, despite the Taliban’s warning that it would no longer allow Afghans to leave.
In a news conference on Tuesday, Psaki said U.S. officials have been in "direct contact" with SIV applicants about how and when to reach Kabul’s airport. When asked if the Taliban’s declaration meant that the applicants attempting to flee were effectively cut off from evacuation efforts, Psaki told reporters that was "not how you should read it."
"Our expectation and what we will continue to convey directly through a range of channels we have is that the individuals, the Special Immigrant Visa applicants, those who are eligible, those who we are facilitating their departure, will be able to reach the airport," Psaki said.
The White House has not completely shut the door on leaving U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond the August 31 deadline.
"During a meeting this morning with the G7 leaders, the President conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Tuesday.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that about 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far.
"As of today, August 24, we have evacuated approximately 4,000 American passport holders plus their families. We expect that number to continue to grow in the coming days," Kirby said.
The breaking news comes shortly after President Biden decided not to extend his deadline of Aug. 31 to withdraw.
“Things have departed,” an official said about the beginning of the withdrawal. “We can still defend the airport,” the official said.
There are fewer American troops at the airport in Kabul today than there were yesterday.
It was notable at the top of the Pentagon new conference that the number of U.S. troops on the ground was not mentioned. For days, the number of American troops flooding into Kabul airport was part of the daily release of information.
“We are still able to get Americans out who want to evacuate,” one official said.
House Republicans on Tuesday blasted President Biden's decision to stick to the Aug. 31 withdrawal date from Afghanistan and predicted bloodshed during the ongoing rushed evacuation from Kabul.
Following a closed-door briefing on Afghanistan at the Capitol, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and fellow Republicans emerged Tuesday afternoon blasting the Biden adminstration's position of withdrawing by the end of the month despite the Taliban takeover of the country and Americans and Afghan allies still seeking to leave.
"I can tell you there's no way we can humanly get all of our American citizens and Afghan partners out of the country by that time," Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, said Tuesday at a news conference with McCarthy and GOP members of Congress who are veterans.
President Biden is set to address the nation on the unfolding situation in Afghanistan.
Click here to watch.
Critics slammed President Biden and said he will "have blood on his hands" after it was announced the U.S. will not extend the Aug. 31 deadline of withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
"I can tell you there’s no way we can humanly get all of our American citizens and Afghan partners out of country by that time. I've called this consistently an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. It will be a stain on this presidency, and particularly of the decision made today, and what we heard today. He will have blood on his hands, people are gonna die," Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
A U.S. official told Fox News's Lucas Tomlinson on Tuesday that Biden decided against extending the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan.
The announcement came after Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns met in Kabul, and a Taliban spokesman said there will be "no extensions" to the deadline.
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The Biden administration is doubling down on press secretary Jen Psaki’s claim that Americans are not stranded in Afghanistan amid the botched troop withdrawal that saw the Taliban take the country.
An administration official stood by Psaki’s claim on Tuesday, telling Fox News in an email that the White House is working to bring home Americans who want to leave the country.
"As the president and his team have made clear, the circumstances in Afghanistan are heartbreaking and we are bringing the Americans who want to come home, home," the official said.
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President Biden has decided not to extend an Aug. 31 deadline to remove all American troops from Afghanistan, a U.S. official tells Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson.
The development comes shortly after a Taliban spokesperson – following a meeting between leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and CIA Director William Burns in Kabul -- said there will be “no extensions” to the Biden administration’s Aug. 31 date.
Defense Dept. Press Secretary John Kirby said Tuesday that the White House is still “aiming toward the end of the month” for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
The Pentagon also said the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will go to “zero” at the Aug. 31 deadline.
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Defense Dept. Press Secretary John Kirby says there has been “no change” to the Biden administration’s timeline of getting all American forces out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31.
“We continue to make progress every day in getting Americans – as well as Special Immigrant Visa applicants and vulnerable Afghans -- out,” he added. “We remain committed to getting any and all Americans that want to leave, to get them out,” Kirby continued.
“We still believe – certainly now that we have been able to increase the capacity and the flow -- we believe that we have the ability to get that done by the end of the month.”
The Department of Defense is expected to provide an update on the situation in Afghanistan at 10:30 a.m. ET.
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Images of the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan are hitting home for family members who have lost loved ones in the global war on terror.
"I'm sad for what's happening. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I certainly feel that we could have done this in a different way," Ryan Manion told Fox News.
Manion’s brother, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq in 2007. "I remain hopeful that we honor the commitment to bring our Afghan allies back," Manion said. "But it's sad. I mean, you can't help but look at what's happening on TV and be devastated."
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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday that his group will accept “no extensions” of the Aug. 31 deadline the Biden administration has imposed for the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan, the Associated Press reports.
Mujahid also claimed he is “not aware” of any meeting between CIA Director William Burns and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, but did not deny that such a meeting took place, the AP adds.
A member of the U.K. Parliament is questioning how President Biden will reassure the world that the U.S. will honor its international commitments to allies after withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and said he should be concerned how its adversaries are now viewing America.
"The only question to ask him now is what are you going to do next?" Conservative Party MP Tom Tugendhat said during an exclusive interview with Fox News. "What are you going to do to ensure that the alliance is understood to be what it is, which is one based on trust, based on values, and based on the belief that we all know that we're in this together?"
"There are many people around the world who are currently looking at us, looking at the U.K., looking at NATO, looking at the U.S., of course, and wondering what a commitment means if you've spent $2 trillion, if you've lost, in your case, nearly two and a half thousand U.S. soldiers … and you still pull out overnight," Tugendhat, who served a decade in the British Army, told Fox News. "What does that leave as a legacy for others?"
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Fox News’ Chad Pergram is told the covert meeting in Kabul between CIA Director William Burns and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was not a part of last night’s House Intelligence Committee briefing on Afghanistan.
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The World Health Organization said Tuesday that it now only has enough supplies in Afghanistan “to last for one week” as medical equipment deliveries there remain hampered because of the situation at Kabul’s airport.
Officials from WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean office say coronavirus testing in Afghanistan has plummeted 77% in the last week along with a decreased rate of vaccinations, Reuters reports.
"We rapidly distributed lifesaving supplies to health facilities and partners in Kabul, Kandahar and Kunduz but WHO now only has enough supplies in country to last for one week. Yesterday 70% of these supplies were released to health facilities," WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari was quoted as saying.
WHO officials also said 95% of health facilities in Afghanistan remain open but some female staff have yet to return to their positions in the wake of the Taliban takeover, according to Reuters.
An American mother, who is being called Fatima to hide her true identity, tells 'Fox & Friends First’ that she is afraid for her life and has given up hope.
“We are stranded at home. We can’t get to the airport,” she said. “When we try to get to the airport, we either get beaten up or we are afraid of our lives.”
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said Tuesday that the international community should steer away from imposing sanctions on the Taliban.
"The international community should encourage and promote the development of the situation in Afghanistan in a positive direction, support peaceful reconstruction, improve the well-being of the people and enhance its capacity for independent development," Wang Wenbin said, according to the Associated Press.
"Imposing sanctions and pressure at every turn cannot solve the problem and will only be counterproductive," he added.
The AP reports that Beijing has been trying to maintain friendly relations with the militant group and has kept its embassy in Kabul open amidst the chaos.
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A senior U.S. official confirms to Fox News that CIA Director William Burns met with Taliban leader and co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday.
First reported by the Washington Post, the rendezvous was the highest-level in-person meeting between the Biden administration and the Taliban since the group took control of Afghanistan's capital earlier this month.
The meeting comes as European allies reportedly are applying pressure on the Biden administration to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan despite warnings from the Taliban against crossing a "red line."
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A White House official said Tuesday that 21,600 people have been evacuated from Kabul in the last 24 hours onboard 37 U.S. military and 57 coalition flights.
That brings the total number of evacuees since Aug. 14 to around 58,700 people, the official added.
Ben Wallace, the British defense minister, said in an interview Tuesday that he does not believe that the Aug. 31 evacuation deadline in Afghanistan will be extended.
Wallace told Sky News—prior to the G7 meeting on the issue- that as “we get closer it’s correct to say the security risk goes up, it gets more and more dangerous. Add-on groups and other terrorist groups like ISIS would like to be seen taking credit, would like to be seen chasing the West out of Afghanistan.”
Wallace said he formed his opinion by comments from the Biden administration.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters on Monday that he believes the U.S. could accomplish the mission before the deadline.
“We believe that we have time between now and the 31st to get out any American who wants to get out,” Sullivan said.
Taliban officials told Reuters that they are unwilling to extend the deadline and the "occupation" by U.S. forces. The group warned about "consequences" if the deadline is extended and called the move a "red line."
European allies are applying pressure on the Biden administration to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Afghanistan despite warnings from the Taliban against crossing a "red line," according to a report.
G7 leaders are scheduled to meet on Tuesday via video conference to discuss the ongoing challenges in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
France, the UK and Germany have all mentioned extending the deadline in order to carry out an orderly exit, the BBC reported.
"We are concerned about the deadline set by the United States on August 31," Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, told the network. "Additional time is needed to complete ongoing operations."
Fox News Investigative journalist and "No Agenda" host Lara Logan said Monday that President Joe Biden and his administration is getting the outcome he desires in Afghanistan because the United States military has the capability to summarily rectify the intensifying problems with the evacuation effort.
Logan told "Tucker Carlson Tonight" both Biden and the Taliban are sources of "misinformation and propaganda" about the facts on the ground and exactly how to solve the crisis.
"The most important thing that I think Americans should understand is that both this country's enemies and the Biden administration want you to accept that there is nothing that can be done, that this outcome that you see where the United States a world superpower is humiliated, defeated, and shamed on the world stage that it … bows at the feet of terrorists, that we have to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government of Afghanistan," she said, "that they haven't fought an aren't fighting right now."
President Biden has left Americans in Afghanistan beholden to the masterminds of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks while his spokeswoman is arguing semantics about terminology, "Fox & Friends" host Pete Hegseth said on Monday.
Hegseth and "Fox News Primetime" host Jesse Watters noted White House press secretary Jen Psaki debated Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy's use of the word "stranded" to describe Americans unable to escape Afghanistan due to Taliban checkpoints.
Psaki claimed "stranded" is an "irresponsible" term, and that Biden is "committed to bringing Americans who want to come home home."
Rep. Adam Schiff said that Kabul's airport could be a target of terrorist attacks from ISIS-Khorasan and Al Qaeda as U.S. and allied troops on the ground there attempt to evacuate thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan.
"I think the threat to the airport is very real, very substantial... this would make a very attractive target for ISIS-K," Schiff told Fox News after attending a classified Afghanistan briefing Monday.
NBC took a strange moment on Sunday to cut away from President Biden, who addressed the nation about the ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as Tropical Storm Henri.
While ABC and CBS continued with regularly scheduled programming, NBC News immediately interrupted the Peacock network with a "special report" as Biden took to the podium at the White House.
Moments after he concluded his remarks, the president began to take questions from his pre-approved list of reporters, starting with Associated Press correspondent Darlene Superville.
"The Five" co-host Jesse Watters chastised the White House on Monday for the muddled messaging surrounding President Biden's troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, as U.S. citizens and allies remain trapped in the troubled Central Asian country.
Watters comments came after White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted during a press briefing that Americans "are not" stranded in Kabul and that the White House is "committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home."
"Stranded means if you want to leave somewhere and you can't," Watters fired back. "Do you think Americans can just go to the Kabul airport and take up on the next flight? They can't, they are stranded and I don't know why she is arguing about the word."
State Department spokesman Ned Price denied that the Biden administration was relying on the Taliban’s pledge to allow safe passage for Afghan allies and others seeking to leave the country, asserting that U.S. officials have "significant sources of leverage" should the group renege on its commitment.
The extent of the Biden administration’s trust in the Taliban’s pledge was a point of contention in the department’s regular press briefing on Monday. When asked about U.S. efforts to reassure vulnerable Afghans fearing retaliation from the Taliban, Price initially noted that the Taliban had "agreed and committed to provide and to permit safe passage" to Americans as well as "third-country nationals and to Afghans."
The White House announced that nearly 11,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul in a 12 hour period, including over 6,000 that were evacuated on U.S. military flights.
"From August 23 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, a total of approximately 10,900 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 15 U.S. military flights (all C-17s), which carried approximately 6,660 evacuees, and 34 coalition flights, which carried 4,300 people," a White House official said.
A coalition of military veteran organizations requested a meeting with President Biden on Monday to discuss his administration’s efforts to safely evacuate Afghan allies who face potential reprisals from the Taliban following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Led by Iraq war veteran and High Ground Veterans Advocacy founder Kristofer Goldsmith, the coalition’s members said they "remain concerned about the fates of our wartime partners." The veterans’ groups asked the Biden administration about its efforts to "meet commitments" to allies stranded in Kabul.
"Failing to meet our obligations to these Afghans would not only be a national security risk – harming America’s reputation abroad and eroding the trust in our armed forces that is critical for future operations – it would also condemn veterans and survivors of the conflict in Afghanistan to a lifetime of moral injury," the groups said in the letter.
President Joe Biden took flak again Monday for taking no questions about Afghanistan as the crisis in the war-torn country continues.
The Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan In the aftermath of the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and Americans and Afghan allies stranded there are desperately trying to leave. Many questions remain unanswered, yet on Monday, after giving a brief update on the White House's effort against the coronavirus, Biden again walked away as the press shouted out inquiries about Afghanistan.
As a reporter asked him, "How many Americans are left in Afghanistan, Mr. President?" Biden walked away from the podium.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan was questioned during a press briefing Monday on whether President Biden understands the "full picture" about the potential terrorism threat coming out of Afghanistan now that the Taliban have taken over the country.
Biden, who has repeatedly defended his pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, claimed from the White House Friday that al Qaeda was "gone" from the country, adding, "We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as getting Usama bin Laden, and we did."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki bristled at a question from Fox News' Peter Doocy regarding whether President Biden was aware of criticism that his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal left some Americans stranded overseas.
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not," Psaki said. "We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home."
Doocy also pressed Psaki on reports of Taliban militants using U.S. military equipment.
“When the president made this decision to bring our men and women home from Afghanistan who are serving, he made that decision not lightly," Psaki said in response. "He made that decision with a clear assessment from his national security team of what the impacts could be.”
Psaki said President Biden opted to equip Afghan security forces with "they materials they needed to fight." She added his administration has “taken steps” to prevent U.S. arms from falling into Taliban hands.
Veterans described the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover as "gut-wrenching," "predictable," and "heartbreaking," blaming Joe Biden’s failed leadership for the debacle.
Rep. August Pfluger, R-Texas, said it was "heartbreaking" to see the Taliban setting the conditions in Afghanistan.
"No, I’m sorry, the American president and the secretary of defense set the conditions," he said. "But it seems just the opposite of that…it’s heartbreaking after 20 years in Afghanistan to see the blood, sweat and tears that have been spent there now evaporating into this debacle."
Retired Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan, called the Biden administration's troop withdrawal on "Fox & Friends" Monday a "mistake" that is putting American lives in danger.
"This is wrong. I wasn't bashful in 2013 and 2014 when I told the administration their change of strategy from combat operations to non-combat operations was a strategic and policy mistake, big time. And I'm not afraid to tell them now that it is another mistake and it's wishful thinking on their part," Bolduc said. "It's poor strategy. It puts American lives in danger. It sends a terrible geopolitical message across the world, to America, what we stand for and what we will do, how we will support our allies and how we will fight against our enemies, both foreign and domestic. This is wrong."
The Pentagon said in a Monday briefing that it will consider leaving American troops in Afghanistan past August 31, in consultation with President Biden and allies, but dismissed the idea of the U.S. military taking back Bagram Airfield to speed up evacuations.
The comments from Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby came as the crisis in Afghanistan continues one week after the Taliban toppled the country's U.S.-backed government.
The U.S. military, according to the Pentagon, has sped up evacuations from the Kabul airport, removing nearly 11,000 people in the past 24 hours — although the Pentagon won't say how many Americans it's evacuated.
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Vice President Kamala Harris at last spoke publicly on what is happening in Afghanistan as Americans and Afghans try to exit the country due to the Taliban’s swift takeover, but she refused to weigh in on the U.S. government’s decision-making that led to the current situation.
During an appearance alongside Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, both leaders were asked about the U.S. withdrawal and evacuation process, with Harris being asked what she thinks went wrong.
"So, I understand and appreciate why you asked the question. And I think there's going to be plenty of time to analyze what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan," the vice president said. "But right now, we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children."
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With thousands of Afghan refugees expected to arrive to the U.S., the State Department must facilitate their resettlement across the country as some critics raise concerns over homeland security and the swift vetting process.
An undisclosed number of Afghan refugees arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport on Saturday, and were transported to Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Campus.
Its Ernst Center was to be used to house at least 200 refugees, and the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management gathered 500 cots, as well as food, water and other supplies.
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A CENTCOM spokesperson said Monday that no U.S. or coalition forces were hurt during the “brief exchange of gunfire” that happened near a gate last night at Kabul’s airport.
“The incident appeared to begin when an unknown hostile actor fired upon Afghan security forces involved in monitoring access to the gate,” Navy Capt. William Urban said. “The Afghans returned fire, and in keeping with their right of self-defense, so too did U.S. and coalition troops.”
Urban added that “one member of the Afghan forces was killed by the hostile actor” and “several Afghans were wounded during the exchange,” while “the wounded are being treated at an airfield hospital and are reported to be in stable condition.”
“Our condolences go out to the teammates and loved ones of the fallen Afghan soldier,” he also said.
The U.S. Department of Defense is holding a briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET on the situation in Afghanistan.
Click here to watch.
More than 500 tons of medical supplies and severe malnutrition kits intended to be delivered to Afghanistan have yet to arrive as Kabul’s airport remains closed to commercial flights, the World Health Organization tells Reuters.
WHO Regional Emergency Director Richard Brennan is now calling on military planes to divert to the organization’s facilities in Dubai to pick up the supplies before heading to Kabul for evacuations, according to Reuters.
"While the eyes of the world now are on the people being evacuated and the planes leaving, we need to get supplies in to help those who are left behind," Brennan said.
Around 300,000 people in Afghanistan are in need of the medical and food aid after being displaced during the Taliban’s takeover of the country, Reuters reports.
China is accusing the U.S. on Monday of being “the root cause and biggest external factor in the Afghan issue.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin was quoted by the Associated Press as making the remark, adding that “it cannot just run away like this.”
“I hope the U.S. side can match its acts with words, take on its responsibilities in Afghanistan and put into practice its commitments to Afghanistan in terms of development and reconstruction, and humanitarian assistance,” he also said.
More than two dozen U.S. military flights over the last 24 hours have evacuated around 10,400 people from Kabul, a White House official says.
That brings the total number of U.S. evacuations since Aug. 14 to around 37,000 people, the official added.
Taliban sources said the group is not willing to extend the Aug. 31 deadline for Western troops to exit the country just hours after President Biden said the U.S. could extend the deadline, according to a report.
The two Taliban sources told Reuters that the group has not been approached by any country to extend the deadline.
Biden said on Sunday that the deadline could be extended. “Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are going to be discussions, I suspect, on how far along we are in the process,” the president said on Sunday, according to the New York Times.
Afghan security forces stationed at the Kabul international airport on Monday engaged in a firefight with "unknown attackers" that resulted in the death of one Afghan officer, the German military said on Twitter.
The reported shooting underscored the dangers international troops and fleeing Afghans continue to face in the city now controlled by the Taliban.
The German military said in a tweet that one Afghan security officer was killed and another three were wounded in the early morning incident. The Associated Press, citing the Germans, said that U.S. and German forces also got involved, and that there were no injuries to German soldiers.
The U.S. Defense Department did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News. A U.K. official told Reuters that he was aware of the reports but his troops were not involved.
The Biden administration has moved to quickly process migrants streaming across the southern border but has not been able to speed up the processing times for Afghan interpreters and other allies who assisted in America's 20-year war effort.
The White House announced last month that it will speed up asylum claim processing for migrants at the southern border, claiming in a release that they are seeking to "fair, orderly and humane" immigration system after the Trump administration policies "unjustly prevent individuals from obtaining asylum."
Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe called for President Biden's resignation during a fiery appearance on "The Big Sunday Show" where she accused his administration of endangering American lives abroad during the evacuation of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
"We do not know how many Americans are left in Afghanistan and if we don't know, how do we know we've gotten them all out? "Boothe asked. "How do we know when [the] mission is complete if we don't know how many Americans are in Afghanistan?"
President Biden ignored a question from a reporter asking about the threat ISIS poses to U.S. troops working to keep the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan secure.
"Mr. President, what about ISIS and the threats that Americans face now," Fox News Radio’s Rachel Sutherland can be heard shouting as Biden turned his back and left the room following his address to reporters Sunday.
Biden acknowledged the threat ISIS poses to U.S. troops earlier in the address, noting that the terror group and the Taliban are enemies.
The exchange comes after it was reported Saturday that ISIS-K, a branch of the terror group that first emerged in Syria and Iraq, posed a danger to Americans trying to make their way to the airport.
"Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," the embassy warned on Saturday.
CBS reporter Bo Erickson called on the Biden administration to inform President Joe Biden on his now falling job approval numbers.
"A new poll out today shows Americans wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan, but they disapprove of the way you've handled it," O'keefe said. "The majority of Americans – forgive me, I'm just the messenger – no longer consider you to be competent, focused, or effective at the job. What would you say to those Americans?"
NPR host Michel Martin diverted blame away from President Biden for the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan and suggested that white nationalist groups should be a top concern for the president.
During ABC's "This Week" on Sunday, host Martha Raddatz criticized the Biden administration for short-sighted planning in regards to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan which has resulted in the Taliban taking over much of the country.
"We may not have known how fast it would happen, but I can’t, it’s hard for me to believe they didn’t have some expectation this would happen since they knew we were pulling out," Raddatz said.
Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Fox News the U.S. has no intelligence in Kabul outside the airport, marking a victory for the Taliban, Russia, China and Iran.
"The Taliban, their stripes just got bigger," McCaul told Fox News in an interview.
"We have no intelligence on the ground now," he continued. "We are completely dark. With the exception of the airport we will be dark."
U.S. Central command spokesperson CAPT William Urban said that a "probable Iranian-made drone" was close to posing a threat to U.S. forces on the ground in Syria when it was shot down by the U.S. Air Force.
“On the morning of August 21, a probable Iranian-made drone took off from Dayr Az Zawr airfield, entered the airspace above the Eastern Syria Security Area, and approached within two kilometers of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria before it was shot down by a U.S. Air Force F-15E. The F-15E was providing aircover for U.S. troops operating with partners in Syria including the Syrian Democratic Forces in the fight against ISIS. The successful missile shot prevented the UAV from posing a threat to U.S. service members. U.S. Forces will continue to defend our service members wherever they are threatened," Urban said in a statement.
The threat came days after President Biden claimed in an interview that no U.S. troops deployed to Syria.
The U.S. has around 900 troops currently deployed to Syria.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are facing backlash on Twitter after videos showed them yucking it up over the weekend while Afghanistan, and President Biden’s legacy, are under siege.
Schumer, D-N.Y., was spotted dancing backstage with late-night comedian Stephen Colbert during the "We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert" in Central Park, which was cut short Saturday night due to inclement weather. A video of the dancing, tweeted by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt, racked up more than three million views.
President Biden campaigned on empathy, but he's now being blasted for his "meanness" for leaving Americans and Afghanis to the mercy of the Taliban.
"Empathy matters. Compassion matters. We have to reach out to one another and heal this country — and that’s what I’ll do as president," Biden promised in February 2020. His campaign to "restore the soul of America" and to "heal this country" leaned heavily on his personal story of loss – the loss of his wife in a car accident and the loss of his eldest son, Beau Biden.
Biden claimed that Trump never said "anything that approaches a sincere expression of empathy for the people who are hurting," while Democrat after Democrat mentioned empathy while endorsing Biden.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, called President Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal from the country "disastrous" and stressed that the president "needs to commit to getting out every American" from behind Taliban lines.
Cotton made the comments during an exclusive interview with Fox News' "Sunday Morning Futures," where he stressed that the "chaos" in Afghanistan is "tragic" and "heartbreaking" for "so many veterans who served in Afghanistan and their Gold Star families.
FOX News Media successfully evacuated three Afghan nationals, as well as an Afghan colleague from a regional media company, and their respective families who formerly served as freelance associates, from Kabul on Sunday.
"We are extremely proud to have assisted in this critical mission bringing them to safety in Doha where the Qataris have been aiding in several evacuations, and are grateful to Fox Corp for all of their assistance," Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement.
President Biden promised that the United States would welcome Afghan allies escaping the Taliban into the U.S., but only after they have been "screened and cleared" at military bases and transit centers
Biden said that the U.S. has set up processing stations in third countries, "working with more than two dozen countries across four continents." When planes take off from Kabul, they go to U.S. military bases and these processing stations.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in just months under President Biden, "American leadership has already walked off the stage" as the world watches the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, and suggested several ways the U.S. can regain credibility among its allies
Pompeo told "Sunday Morning Futures" host Maria Bartiromo that the Biden administration appears to have returned to Obama-era leadership, leaving U.S. adversaries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un to watch "America destroy its alliances."
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer blasted President Biden’s Friday press conference on the debacle in Afghanistan, saying the president has put Americans "just one stray bullet away from a bloodbath in Kabul."
"I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a politician, particularly at a perilous moment like this, be so in denial, out of touch, out to lunch and all around clueless," Fleischer, who served in the George W. Bush administration, told host Rita Cosby on WABC Radio Friday.
"Joe Biden’s judgment on so many issues, for so many decades, has been so wrong, and we’re seeing it play out right now," Fleischer said.
U.S. Embassy staff in Kabul have started to lose faith in the American evacuation effort, according to a cable obtained by NBC news.
“It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again, one Afghan trying to flee the country said.
The embassy staff are reportedly "deeply disheartened" by the ongoing effort, while Afghans that assisted the war effort are feeling "a sense of betrayal and distrust in the American government."
"“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another Afghan said.
A U.S. Air Force fighter shot down an Iranian drone over eastern Syria on Saturday after the drone flew “too close,” to American troops deployed there, two U.S. officials tell Fox News.
The Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle was flying a routine patrol over Syria where some 900 U.S. troops are based.
President Biden recently said in an ABC interview there were no U.S. troops deployed to Syria.
Some White House talking points before one of the president’s recent speeches made the same false claim.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that in just months under President Biden, "American leadership has already walked off the stage" as the world watches the Taliban seize control of Afghanistan, and suggested several ways the U.S. can regain credibility among its allies.
"It looks like we’re back to Barack Obama, America apologizing, American weakness, and our adversaries not fearing us and our friends not trusting us," the former secretary of state said.
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., told "Fox News Live" it's time for members of the Biden administration to be held accountable following the "damning failure" in Afghanistan, adding that he hopes the president levels with the American people in his speech on Sunday.
President Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday admitted that the administration still does not know how many Americans are in Afghanistan.
CNN "State of the Union" host Brianna Keilar asked Sullivan if he could tell her how many Americans and legal permanent residents are still waiting to be evacuated in Afghanistan.
"We cannot give you a precise number," Sullivan said. "We believe it is several thousand Americans who we are working with now to try to get safely out of the country."
President Biden on Friday claimed that Al Qaeda was "gone" from Afghanistan, but in a "Fox News Sunday" interview Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted that this is not true.
Host Chris Wallace pressed the issue, asking him again if Al Qaeda was gone from Afghanistan. Blinken responded by saying that Al Qaeda's ability to carry out another 9/11-style attack was "vastly, vastly diminished."
"Are there Al Qaeda members and remnants in Afghanistan? Yes," he said. "But what the president was referring to was its capacity to do what it did on 9/11 and that capacity has been very successfully diminished."
A network of "hundreds of thousands" of people, including analysts using satellite imagery to locate Taliban checkpoints surrounding the Kabul airport, are coordinating to evacuate Afghan interpreters from the country, an Afghanistan war veteran and member of the coalition told Fox News.
These interpreters, now targeted by the Taliban, were essential U.S. allies during the Afghanistan war and played roles much larger than simply acting as translators, according to Matt Zeller. The Biden administration has faced fierce criticism that the U.S. hasn’t made their evacuation more of a priority.
"These people that we’re talking about … they were our eyes and ears on the battlefield," Zeller, a former CIA analyst told Fox News. He said they’d hear Taliban communications ordering fighters to shoot the interpreters first.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair derided the U.S. "abandonment" of Afghanistan as "tragic, dangerous, [and] unnecessary" on Saturday.
Blair, who sent British troops into the country alongside the U.S. in 2001 after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, posited that enemies and allies alike will ask if the West has "lost its strategic will" based on the swift takeover by the Taliban in the last week.
"The world is now uncertain of where the West stands because it is so obvious that the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this way was driven not by grand strategy but by politics," he wrote in an essay published on the website of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
The rapid power gain by the Taliban in Afghanistan, as a result of the botched withdrawal of U.S.-led NATO troops, is sparking concerns by experts over the possible proliferation of terrorism in the region that will pose a direct threat to America and its ally Israel.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck told Fox News in an interview that the United States' "humiliating" withdrawal will inspire terrorist groups and adversaries who now view the U.S. and its allies, including Israel, as weak.
"When American power, credibility and reliability are perceived to be diminished or weakened, the threat to all of our friends, allies and partners increases,” Klinck said.
The Department of Defense will compel commercial airlines to evacuate Afghans, the third time since the Gulf War that the U.S. has activated what is known as the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.
Eighteen aircraft will be used, including 3 from American Airlines, 3 from Delta Air Lines, 3 from Atlas Air, 3 from Omni Air, 2 from Hawaiian Airlines and 4 from United Airlines.
The airlines will be compensated as part of the arrangement.
U.S. airmen helped a pregnant Afghan mother deliver her child in the cargo bay of a U.S. Air Force C-17 during an evacuation flight from the Middle East on Saturday, U.S. officials said.
The flight had already taken off from an Intermediate Staging Base in the Middle East when the mother went into labor and began having complications, the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command said.
The aircraft commander made the quick decision to lower the C-17’s altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft. The move helped stabilize the mother and save her and her baby’s life, according to officials.
After the aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, airmen from the 86th Medical Group came aboard and delivered the child in the C-17’s cargo bay.
The baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility and were in good condition, officials said.
U.S. airmen have been setting up Ramstein Air Force Base to house evacuees arriving from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.
President Biden plans to address the nation Sunday afternoon regarding efforts to evacuate American citizens and other people out of Afghanistan, according to reports.
Biden’s speech is expected to be televised at 4 p.m., The Hill reported.
The announcement of the plans for the address came Saturday night, hours after Biden met with his national security advisers regarding the Afghanistan crisis, the report said.
At least seven civilians were reportedly killed Sunday at the international airport in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, according to reports.
Word of the fatalities came from Britain’s Defense Ministry, which described safety conditions at the airport as "extremely challenging," according to The Associated Press.
Details about how the deaths came about, and the identities of the victims, were not disclosed.
The Biden administration is planning a dramatic ramp-up of its airlift from Kabul by making preparations to compel major U.S. airlines to help with the transportation of tens of thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan, while expanding the number of U.S. military bases that could house Afghans.
The White House is expected to consider activating the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, created in 1952 in the wake of the post-World War II Berlin Airlift, to provide nearly 20 commercial jets from up to five airlines to augment U.S. military efforts to transport Afghan evacuees from bases in the region, according to U.S. officials.
The civilian planes wouldn’t fly in or out of Kabul, which fell to Taliban rule Aug. 15, officials said. Instead, commercial airline pilots and crews would help to ferry the thousands of Afghans and others who are stranded at U.S. bases in Qatar, Bahrain, and Germany.
President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed the Afghanistan crisis and the Democrats' "Build Back Better" agenda Saturday night, according to the White House.
"The President updated Speaker Pelosi about increasing progress made evacuating American citizens, our allies, Afghans who aided American military and other efforts, and additional vulnerable Afghans as rapidly as possible," the White House said in a statement. "The President also reiterated his support for Speaker Pelosi’s work to advance the rule that would provide for the House’s consideration of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the Build Back Better Agenda—which would cut prescription drug costs, reduce the cost of housing and education, strengthen care for veterans, take on climate change, and help families afford childcare and care for older Americans."
President Joe Biden spoke with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Saturday about the United Arab Emirates’ support for the Afghanistan evacuation effort, according to the White House.
"The President and Crown Prince underscored that this collaborative effort reflects the enduring partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates," officials said. "The two leaders agreed on the priority of working together to address regional and global challenges."
"The U.S. no longer has anything close to the elite capacity we once enjoyed to detect and preempt threats in Afghanistan," writes Daniel Hoffman
EXCLUSIVE: An Afghan interpreter who is stuck in Afghanistan with his family is saying that "time is running out," as Taliban continue to hunt door to door for people who worked for the U.S. government.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby stood by his comments last week that Kabul was not in "imminent" danger even though two days later the Afghan capital collapsed into Taliban control.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson pressed Kirby during a Pentagon news conference Saturday about his statement on Aug. 13 that "Kabul is not right now in an imminent-threat environment."
The man considered to be the Taliban's top political leader, Abdul Ghani Baradar, has arrived in Kabul.
He's in the city to consult with the Taliban on the new government, according to Taliban official Zabihullah Mujahid.
Baradar was a peace negotiator in Doha, Qatar, last year and co-founded the Taliban in 1994. He is also eyed as the next leader of Afghanistan.
The Taliban is not expected to make announcements about the new government until after the Aug. 31 deadline of withdrawing U.S. troops from the country.
A threat from the Islamic State’s branch in Afghanistan prompted a security threat from the U.S. embassy in the country that told American citizens to avoid traveling to the airport.
“There are other terrorists groups we are concerned about as well,” one defense official said. The official declined to give details, but the Pentagon has said that “hundreds” of al-Qaeda fighters are in Afghanistan.
The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan warned Saturday: "Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so."
A White House official said President Biden met with his national security team on Saturday morning, and was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris via teleconference on her way to Singapore.
The U.S. officials discussed the security situation in Afghanistan, counterterrorism strategies and the operation to evacuate American citizens and Afghans who have assisted the U.S. government from the country. The evacuation plans include using both U.S. military and charter flights.
Biden and Harris were joined by Secretary Antony Blinken, Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman Mark Milley, Director Avril Haines, Director William Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, General Frank McKenzie, and other senior officials.
Gay men in Afghanistan are describing the Taliban’s takeover as a "nightmare" and live in fear that they could be executed at any moment.
"We cannot go out because we are just scared for our lives," a 21-year-old gay man called Ghulam, whose real name was changed for safety purposes, told Insider. "If we get caught, the Taliban will kill us."
Los Angeles dwellers rated President Biden's handling of the troop withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan in a series of interviews with Fox News.
"If I could go lower than F- I would," John, a Floridian visiting the Golden State, told Fox News.
"Between him, the CIA and their estimate of how long the Afghans would last, or even the military who apparently tried to train these people.""It was just a disaster," he continued.
The United States evacuated 2,500 Americans from Kabul in the past week, U.S. officials said Saturday during a Pentagon press briefing.
Major General William Taylor said 17,000 people have been evacuated, including 2,500 Americans.
“We’re fighting against both time and space,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby added during the press briefing. “That’s the race that we’re in right now. And we’re trying to do this as quickly and safely as possible.”
He said that he did not have a “perfect figure” on the number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan. A State Department spokesperson previously estimated there were between 5,000 and 10,000 American citizens in the country.
Kirby added that the objective for U.S officials is to “get as many people out as we can as fast as we can. And so that’s what the focus is.”
Only six U.S. Air Force transport planes were able to leave Kabul on Friday, Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor said Saturday.
A total of 1,600 people were evacuated from Kabul Friday on six U.S. Air Force C-17 transport planes. Another 32 charter planes were also able to fly out, bringing the total number of those evacuated to approximately 3,800 people.
There was a 6-7 hour pause in operations on Friday due to there being "no room” at the processing facility in Qatar, the Pentagon said.
Approximately 17,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14.
Video footage at the Kabul airport on Saturday show crowds of people desperate to evacuate.
A Taliban fighting unit called the Badri 313 Battalion was spotted patrolling Afghanistan with U.S.-made gear, and posting one photo appearing to mock the iconic World War II photo, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.
Propaganda videos posted this week on channels affiliated with the Taliban show soldiers in the little-known Badri 313 Battalion carrying U.S. and U.S. ally-made weapons and gear that appear to be stolen from allied militaries while patrolling parts of Kabul.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby and Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor are holding a press briefing Saturday morning regarding Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters allegedly set a woman on fire for "bad cooking," as other women in Afghanistan go into hiding and reportedly being forced into sex slavery.
"They are forcing people to give them food and cook them food. A woman was put on fire because she was accused of bad cooking for Taliban fighters," activist and former Afghan judge Najla Ayoubi told Sky News.