WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden Administration State Department, according to a leaked email exclusively obtained by Fox News, has played an active role in obstructing private rescue flights out of Afghanistan – containing American citizens – by refusing to grant approval for them to land in third countries.
In addition, Fox also reports that the State Department flights that have been chartered by private rescue efforts would not be permitted to land at Defense Department (DOD) airbases, citing the potential for security threats that would come and the inability to properly vet flight manifests due to lack of resources.
Many behind these private rescue efforts have grown angry and frustrated by the Biden Administration preventing or delaying their efforts to help American citizens who are still stuck in Afghanistan – now fully under Taliban control following the August 30 U.S. troop withdrawal – to finally evacuate after having either been left behind or choosing to remain for various reasons.
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Eric Montalvo, a man who was attempting to organize several private rescue operations in Afghanistan, supplied the September 1 email he received from the State Department to Fox, proving that his efforts to extract Americans from the war-torn South Asian country had been shut down repeatedly by the U.S. government.
“No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power,” the State Department email read. “In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land. You need to find another destination country, and it can’t be the U.S. either.”
The official that wrote the email that was sent to Montalvo noted that, in order to land a privately chartered rescue plane at a third country – meaning any country outside the European Union – the pilot would need to have the official approval from the State Department beforehand; approval, the official said, that the State Department “will not provide.”
“Once you have had discussions with the host/destination country and reached an agreement, they may require some indication from the USG that we ‘approve’ of this charter flight,” the official said. “DOS will not provide an approval, but we will provide a ‘no objection’ to the destination country government via the U.S. Embassy in that country.”
When Fox made an inquiry about the email, the State Department referred their reporters to remarks made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday.
“We’re working around the clock with NGOs, with members of Congress and advocacy groups, providing any and all information and doing all we can to clear any roadblocks that they’ve identified to make sure that charter flights carrying Americans or others to whom we have a special responsibility can depart Afghanistan safely,” he said. “Without personnel on the ground, we can’t verify the accuracy of manifests, the identities of passengers, flight plans, or aviation security protocols. So this is a challenge, but one we are determined to work through. We’re conducting a great deal of diplomacy on this as we speak.”
Currently, there are an estimated 500 U.S. citizens and green card holders remaining trapped in Afghanistan, according to some officials.