Department of Defense sources say the number evacuated is much lower than State Department’s figure
Editor’s note:Department of Defense sources, who are deeply involved with continued efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan, told the News-Press that the number of evacuated people is much lower than the official number released by the U.S. government. They talked exclusively to News-Press columnist Robert Eringer, but they can’t be identified because of their concerns about possible political retribution.
This column contains an analysis expressed by Mr. Eringer, a longtime author with vast experience in investigative journalism. That analysis is in addition to the comments expressed by the authoritative sources.
It is no secret that Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires, its natives having seen out the Brits, Russians and now the Americans, ejected each time and replaced by a terrorist organization even worse than the one before.
What well-armed empires failed to comprehend is that conventional warfare does not apply to Afghanistan because it is not a country but a cluster of tribes, below which are clans, below which are warlords. Sometimes these tribes, clans and warlords get along with one another. Often they do not.
In other words, there isn’t any one tribe with which you can deal and hope to bring stability to the entire region.
So the first mistake made by the U.S. government was engaging certain Taliban leaders during the Doha meetings with a view to making a deal that would cover all members of the “constellation of franchises” known liberally as the Taliban.
A senior intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense who was —and still is — deeply involved in evacuating and now exfiltrating U.S. citizens and qualified Afghans from Afghanistan told The Investigator, “This massive miscalculation was exploited by the Taliban who went along with the delusion because of their designs to conquer the country. The Taliban is a constellation of franchises loosely aligned for a single ideological objective: to eject the infidels from their lands and install an Islamic republic.” This source has been with DoD for more than 20 years and specializes in logistics.
After Joe Biden moved into the White House, the Doha talks continued without the “retaliatory conditions” insisted upon by the Trump administration.
Also, there’s this: To negate the necessity of involving Congress in a treaty process, the Biden strategy was to simply hand Afghanistan to China and make it “their tar-baby,” explained the senior intelligence analyst. “China was given the task to heal the dog and all iterations thereof. China has a long and esteemed reputation for dog healing.”
In exchange, China would reap a rich abundance of the copper and lithium it needs to produce computer chips, automobiles and electronics and thereby quell growing civil unrest by revving up its economy. Most important of all to the Chinese is the trillions of dollars in rare earth minerals for which China’s tank is running rather low.
Add to the mix: Pakistan, which is closely aligned with China as an insurance policy against border disputes with India. Moreover, China’s “belt initiative” has resulted in billions of dollars in investments in Pakistan, and now their day has come to pay up — lest their economy becomes devastated by a landlord with little patience and will foreclose on what China is owed, according to the analyst.
It is funding from Pakistan that supports and enables the Taliban because the Pakistanis consider large swaths of Afghanistan their own territory stolen from them and they, like the Chinese, have designs on its natural resources.
“So,” the senior intelligence analyst continued, “Biden decides America can ill afford this conflict, the money should go instead to building social utopias at home — and let China become the next graveyard member. However, a fly snuck into the bouillabaisse. And now it is backstroking badly.”
“The Biden administration made two major miscalculations. First, believing that the Taliban could guarantee an orderly exit by the United States. Two, that the Afghan government could hold onto power until the evacuation plan could be executed. Instead, the Taliban said, ‘No deal, you China chumps and American fools, we are taking over immediately and taking possession of everything including air fields, weapons and hostages until you folks are gone like the wind.’ The Taliban shortened the runway by which America was to take off from, rendering it impossible for our evacuation to be orderly.”
The result, as we now know, was a failure of catastrophic proportions. (Excuse us if we do not use the word “non-success” — an Orwellian newspeak so fashionable among Biden administration spokespersons in the wake of a rash of policy failures.)
“There was no orderly exit,” continued our source, “because it was all based on a fallacy along with massive political and policy miscalculations.”
Which brings us to the real Big Lie: The U.S. government announcing that it evacuated 127,000 persons.
The government did not.
This was a big fat bold-faced lie, according to two authoritative military sources directly involved with evacuation efforts.
The proof is not in the pudding but in the logistics, which is key to unraveling this whopper.
Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul has no integrated (electronic and automatic) radar, and, by extension, it has limited airlift windows.
“The logistics alone don’t support it,” a colonel with 30 years in the U.S. military and senior member of Afghan aviation control, our second source, told The Investigator. “Kabul was strictly visual. Which means you can’t stack aircraft.”
According to this evacuations logistics expert who has been under contract to DoD, the separation distance (vertical and horizontal) between aircraft was 22-26 miles (as opposed to the usual radar standard of 2 miles) due to the manual 1950s system on which Kabul air traffic controllers were specially trained, approach radar notwithstanding. Furthermore, C-17 transport planes generally carry 200 civilian passengers but will extend capacity to 350 for military personnel, max.
“Add to that,” said the colonel, “space was limited to park ’em and load ’em.”
And there’s this: Certain people on the ground confirmed that a number of departing aircraft were not fully loaded. Sometimes planes were only half full.
Another logistics issue: “No way that number of people came through the gates to the airport,” said the colonel. “It is an impossibility given the amount of time the gates were physically closed and the number of people that were stopped at the outer perimeter and could not get through.”
Back to the senior intelligence analyst, who told us, “Just do the math. Say you can cram 400 passengers per flight. Do you have any idea how many sorties it would take to move 127,000 people? One must also deduct the time when nothing was departing, such as when the airport gates were completely closed owing to threats, bombings, etc. On top of that, we did not even have a database that consisted of 127,000 people!”
So how many people were actually evacuated?
“Roughly, around 30,000, probably fewer, more like 27,000.”
The analyst said the White House, State Department and Department of Defense knowingly and deceptively misled the American people into believing their false narrative.
And it also means that the so-called “Greatest Airlift Since Berlin” is nothing more than a bunch of bunkum.
“But that’s not all,” continued the analyst. “The other lie is that just a few Americans were left behind. The administration’s entire premise is based on a fallacy that we truly know how many Americans remain in the country. We don’t.
“The government’s number is based upon a ‘known’ number of citizens and green card holders who have sought assistance and not how many actually remain in the country and cannot send a distress signal because if they phone or e-mail the Taliban will find them.”
And what does our mass media, for the most part, report on this?
The mainstream media glosses over a catastrophic intelligence and evacuation failure in which 13 U.S. Marines were killed, more than 22 severely injured and 190 Afghans slaughtered in a suicide bomb attack that (much less reported) also included snipers firing rifles from building tops, according to the colonel.
And if that’s not bad enough, our supposedly intelligence-supported military retaliated by murdering not a would-be “ISIS-K” suicide bomber, as President Biden so triumphantly announced, but an innocent aid worker and his family members, including a number of children. Bottom line: 10 dead, seven of them kids.
“The Taliban accomplished two evil deeds,” said the analyst. “First, they perpetuated the slow walk of humiliation of America by showing we are incompetent idiots in our targeting practices. Second, they blew up our error by leaking the event to the media.”
Huh? The Taliban did this?
We were told by our government that the suicide bomber was “ISIS-K.”
But, no. According to this analyst working the situation 24/7, the atrocity was more likely a Taliban false-flag operation. (And, as we now know, misinformation to boot.)
“The foolishness of giving away our Bagram airbase and having to use Kabul airport created the perfect ‘kill box’ through which Americans and others had to pass,” said the senior intelligence analyst. “Because, while the airport interior was controlled by the 82nd Airborne and Marines, the exterior beyond the gate was controlled by the Taliban.”
The colonel had his own take on Bagram: “Giving up our air base there was the greatest strategic miscalculation of all time. It was our eyes and ears in the whole region, Iran on one side, the Stans and Russia on another, Pakistan and India … it never should have been relinquished. Because now there is no way to observe anything going on in that part of Asia.”
“The other idiotic mistake,” said the analyst, “was providing the Taliban with a ‘list of all manifested persons seeking passage from the checkpoints to the gates.’ We later learned that we had painted a target on the back of everyone named on the list seeking to reach us.”
The Taliban refused to allow airport access to such persons, falsely claiming their papers were not in order. Then, with their names duly noted, these folks were later rounded up by the Taliban for execution, the analyst said.
Back to the colonel. The fundamental problem, he said, was putting the Department of State in charge of the evacuation, which, he claimed “is a concept that runs alien to accepted practices, resulting in the worst screw-up I have ever seen in my life. The Defense Department has evacuation procedures and protocols that must be certified every two years. The State Department does not.
“All my military buddies are shaking their heads, asking, ‘Where was the Joint Chiefs’ head at, ceding control to State? Foreign Service officers can’t even balance their own checkbooks.’ They kept closing the airport gates, causing great stress and emotional trauma,” the colonel continued. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am with the bureaucracy of the State Department.”
At this juncture, the voice of this hardened colonel broke with emotion. “I almost cried when people with blue passports got through the Taliban but could then not get through our gates. That’s when we began disobeying orders by saving people.”
The senior intelligence analyst concurred. “When the Department of State took over, they threw the evacuation playbook out the window and wanted to start from scratch, delaying the rollout plan by several weeks and, as a consequence, leaving folks to die a certain death.”
The Investigator wrote to the State Department’s Office of Press Operations to question the department’s official evacuation number of 127,000, pointing out that two inside sources placed the figure at no more than 30,000.
We received this response from press officer Nicole Thompson: “We refer you to Secretary (Antony) Blinken’s SFRC (Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and HFAC (House Foreign Relations Committee) testimony earlier this month, where he spoke extensively to our efforts in Afghanistan, including responding to several questions regarding numbers of individuals removed and remaining in Afghanistan.”
In his sworn testimony before Congress, Secretary Blinken stated, under oath, “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated to safety.”
We also asked if the Department of State has a longstanding, tested protocol for evacuations from foreign countries and why, if not, State co-opted the Afghanistan evacuation away from the Defense Department.
Ms. Thompson did not address this aspect of our query.
Robert Eringer is a longtime Montecito author with vast experience in investigative journalism. He welcomes questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.