The widow of the first US casualty of the Afghanistan war is slamming President Biden’s “defiant stance,” as the evacuations in Kabul continue to be marked by scenes of violence and chaos as thousands of Americans and allies try to flee the Taliban.
Ex-CIA officer Shannon Spann, whose CIA agent husband Mike Spann was the first American killed in Afghanistan in 2001, told Fox News it was “unconscionable” that the US didn’t have a plan to “evacuate the most vulnerable of our friends and partners.”
Harrowing scenes have emerged out of Kabul this week as thousands of Americans and Afghans — many who helped the US during the war — beg to be put on the US evacuation flights.
Biden said on Monday that he stood by his decision to withdraw US troops and elaborated in an interview Thursday that he also stood by his strategy of doing so.
“I’m deeply disappointed in President Biden’s defiant stance in his address to the nation,” Spann said of Biden’s Monday remarks, where he refused responsibility for the chaos.
“In times of conflict, excellent leaders keep people bigger than the problem. We utterly failed at keeping people bigger than the problem.”
Spann accused the US of neglecting the vision of those involved with the 20-year war, including personnel, Gold Star families and the Afghan people.
“We prioritized a narrow subset of a problem over all of those people,” Spann said.
Since the Taliban regained control of the country on Sunday, crowds of desperate Afghans have been gathering outside Kabul’s airport where the US are carrying out the evacuation flights.
Heartbreaking footage emerged on Wednesday showing mothers passing their children over razor-wire fence to soldiers in the latest attempts to flee the country.
While US officials insist the Taliban has agreed to allow a “safe passage” for civilians struggling to get to the airport, Spann said the chaotic scenes prove Afghans don’t believe the insurgents.
“You don’t have to look further than the airport in Kabul to see that local Afghans don’t believe [the Taliban’s] story of ‘we’re going to be peaceful, we’re not going to do reprisals, we’re going to invite participation from women,’” Spann said.
“People literally clinging to the landing gear of aircraft to try to get away from the story that they know is about to be written.”
President Biden vowed on Wednesday to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until every American is evacuated — even if that means maintaining a military presence there beyond his Aug. 31 deadline.
Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos the U.S. will do “everything in our power” to evacuate Americans and U.S. allies from Afghanistan before the deadline.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay till we get them all out,” Biden said when pressed on how the administration would help Americans left in the nation after the deadline.