By Jim Geraghty, National Review
The New York Times reports that “at least hundreds of U.S. citizens and potentially thousands of green card holders . . . are stranded in Afghanistan.”
For obvious reasons, news organizations are not eager to report the full names and locations of Americans and green-card holders in Afghanistan. There’s no need to make the Taliban’s work easier.
Right now, somewhere in Afghanistan, there’s a U.S. green-card holder who was living in Maryland earlier this year. He had worked with the Americans, done excellent work, and qualified for a green card.
Green-card holders are granted authorization to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. They’re often on the last step before applying for U.S. citizenship. As Charlie Cooke summarized, “it’s not a visa. It’s not a temporary permission slip. It’s permanent residency.” During the evacuation, the U.S. State Department said that the evacuations of citizens and of green-card holders were both top priorities, although green-card holders quickly disappeared from administration statements and statistics thereafter.
This green-card holder is married and had six children; his wife’s parents did not want her moving with him to the U.S., so the husband and father moved to America and sent money back to support his family. In early August, this green-card holder could see the Taliban were advancing quickly, and he went back to Afghanistan to try to get his wife and six children out.
My reader, who has been trying to get this green-card holder out, had to tell him that the last U.S. flight had departed Kabul International Airport:
I told him about 5 a.m. Kabul time (on the 31st) that the U.S. military had left early during the night and would not be there today, the 31st, the last day,” my reader said. “I couldn’t decipher his reaction. It was either quiet rage or a silent crushing of his spirit. I read the report from [the State Department] that they will work diplomatic channels to get the rest of the ‘American citizens’ out. Legal permanent residents sound like they are screwed again. We shake our heads in amazement. The effort from State so far on his case and others has been a goose egg. It’s a massive fail.
However, the U.S. State Department did send this green-card holder an e-mail with the helpful advice to “keep a low profile.” The e-mail recommended, “Make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.” Over on the State Department website, under a section labeled, “What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis,” the department writes, “If there are no commercial options available, and if we have consular officers at the embassy or consulate, and if the conditions permit, we may help U.S. citizens identify possible transportation options” (emphasis in original).
Read more at National Review.