Retired Navy Aviator Brett Odom, who is helping Americans evacuate Afghanistan, said on Monday that Americans were denied entry by the Taliban into Hamid Karzai International Airport.
“I worked for a family last night for about eight hours. That video was from the family. They had been trying to get into the back gate, the south gate. It was the only one open yesterday. Everything else welded shut. And they had been turned back by the Taliban multiple times. They had been beaten. They were scared. They were terrified. And we could not get them through last night,” Odom told “Fox & Friends.”
Odom’s comments came after a video reportedly showed Americans being denied.
Odom described the contact with the family last as a “heroic effort.” He added “informal networks of people will pop up” to help.
“We had them moving through the checkpoints. … They could not get into the gate. The gates were closed. They were outside, waving their passports. We are telling them to scream that ‘I’m an American. I need to get on this airplane.’ And no one let them. And you know, we heard that went all the way up to the top of the military leadership,” Odom said.
The U.S. military has now officially left Afghanistan as the Biden administration made the call to strand hundreds of Americans in the Taliban controlled country.
A State Department spokesperson said Saturday at least 5,400 Americans have been safely evacuated since Aug. 14, including nearly 300 U.S. citizens within the last day. But hundreds of Americans remain in Afghanistan and have informed the State Department they want to get out.
The State Department said they are providing “assistance around the clock” to these citizens seeking to evacuate.
In addition, the State Department has been in contact with another 280 people who have said they are American citizens but have not shared their plans to leave the country or have said they plan to stay.
Odom responded to U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson’s tweet addressing the “false” claim that Americans stranded in Afghanistan are being denied access to the Hamid Karzai international airport by embassy staff or U.S. Forces.
Odom pushed back on Wilson’s tweet, claiming that his statement was “false,” since the Taliban is not letting people through.
“Well, as of about 3:00 Eastern time this morning it was definitely false,” Odom said.
“I have a family of four that were outside the gate. We were networking furiously. Every channel that we knew, some with folks had channels into Centcom and other operations. And these folks were not allowed in the base. The base is shut down. So there is Americans who are being left behind.”
Kenneth McKenzie, the head of United States Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed at a press conference announcing the United States’ military official departure from Afghanistan.
McKenzie confirmed that Americans were left behind. “We did not get out everybody we had wanted to get out,” McKenzie said, adding that diplomatic measures will likely be needed to get out the “very low hundreds” of Americans left behind.
“I think the terror threat is going to be very high and I don’t want to minimize that,” he said adding that the U.S. is working “to ensure that our citizens are protected and that they have the opportunity to leave.”
Oddly enough, McKenzie offered thanks to the Taliban – the same people who were blocking Americans from gaining access to the airport for evacuation.
“I do know this just speaking clearly practically as a professional, [the Taliban] helped us secure the airfield, not perfectly, but they gave it a very good effort, and it was actually significantly helpful to us, particularly here at the end,” McKenzie said, referring to Afghanistan as “our generous host nation.”
The Taliban, he claimed, “have been very pragmatic and very business-like as we have approached this withdrawal.”
Author: Levi Rawthorn