American Citizens In Afghanistan Kicked Out Of Safe Houses Due To US Government Refusal To Cooperate

(Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Kira Mautone Contributor
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Hundreds of Afghans, including U.S. Citizens, have been forced to leave safe houses after a volunteer group said they had failed to successfully arrange for a way out of Afghanistan with the U.S. government, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Friday.

Group leaders said that they had access to three flights ready to ship off, however, the U.S. government had not approved passenger manifests or clear departures. Therefore, while they had planes ready to evacuate people, there had been no locations cleared to land the aircrafts, according to the WSJ.

Task Force Argo, one of the largest volunteer groups consisting of current and former U.S. government officials, veterans, as well as other individuals chartering evacuation flights out of Afghanistan, also told those placed in safe houses that they had run out of money to support them, reported the outlet.

The task force was able to raise almost $2 million in donations to aid with the evacuation from Afghanistan, however, none of this money had come from the U.S. government, according to the WSJ.

The Task Force has reportedly waited weeks for a response from The State Department in regard to landing arrangements and lacking financial support. Another volunteer group helping to charter flights out of Afghanistan also has yet to receive approval regarding its passenger manifests, according to the outlet.

“It’s astronomical,” said the spokeswoman, who also maintains a position with the U.S. government. “We are just volunteers,” the WSJ reported.

Task Force Argo reportedly stated that they have managed to help evacuate more than 2,000 people from Afghanistan, at no cost to the evacuees that included Americans, residents and visa holders, reported the outlet.

The State Department expressed concerns regarding the accuracy of the volunteer group’s passenger manifest since they lacked personnel on the ground to adequately vet the lists, according to The WSJ.

A State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller that they have been evaluating whether or not to support privately organized flights out of Afghanistan with Afghan SIV holders and others on a “case by case basis.” They also said that this support involves evaluating passenger manifests provided by these groups and determining potential eligibility for permanent residency within the U.S..

“Without personnel on the ground to ensure the fidelity of the intended manifests, there is no ability to determine whether the passengers aboard the plane would be eligible for relocation or resettlement in the United States,” the State Department spokesperson said in a statement provided to the Caller.

The State Department spokesperson said that two crucial elements of relocating groups were to arrange departure and safe passage out of Afghanistan, as well as where to temporarily and eventually permanently settle these residents upon arrival. The  spokesperson said there have been significant challenges with these flights.

There have been several instances of individuals not passing identity checks upon arrival at transport destinations. In addition, according to the spokesperson, they either lack eligibility for relocation in the U.S or the flight manifestations are inaccurate despite best efforts from the private organizations.

“This puts the individual travelers at risk with no plan for relocation to the United States; damages the bilateral relationship of the United States with the destination countries; and makes it more difficult for the U.S. government to rely on those partner countries to assist in future relocations out of Afghanistan,” said the spokeswoman in an email to the Daily Caller.

These eligibility restrictions will leave behind tens of thousands of Afghans that have applied for visas based on their work with the U.S, according to various groups, according to WSJ. Some former Afghan members of U.S.-trained intelligence service and elite military units have turned to enlist in the Islamic State, the only entity currently challenging the new rule, according to the outlet. (RELATED: The Taliban’s Top Suicide Bombing Guru Is Now Stuck Mediating Marital Disputes)