“‘Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,’ another said, while a third accused the U.S. of prioritizing Afghan government elites with contacts in the U.S…”
NBC News reported a diplomatic cable said the Afghan staff members at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul feel “deeply disheartened” by the evacuation effort.
They also have “a sense of betrayal and distrust in the U.S. government.”
From NBC News:
The cable, which was sent Saturday, said memos were sent Wednesday inviting Afghan staff members at the embassy to head to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. It told them to take food and to prepare for difficult conditions.
“However, no one anticipated the brutal experience that occurred,” the cable said.
Staffers reported being jostled, hit, spat on and cursed at by Taliban fighters at checkpoints near the airport, it said, adding that criminals were taking advantage of the chaos while the U.S. military tried to maintain order “in an extremely physical situation.”
Some staff members reported that they were almost separated from their children, while others collapsed in a crush of people and had to be taken to hospitals with injuries, the cable said. Others said they had collapsed on the road because of heat exhaustion, it said.
“It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again, a staff member was quoted as saying in the cable.
“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another said, while a third accused the U.S. of prioritizing Afghan government elites with contacts in the U.S., who already had the correct paperwork and other ways to flee the country.
A staff member said someone sprayed his home with paint. The Taliban has a history of doing that “to identify homes’ occupants for further questioning.”
That person said the paint job forced the family “to flee their home but was unable to get to the airport.”
The State Department only gave NBC News a preprinted statement without addressing the concerns in the cable:
A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. has a “special commitment” to local embassy staff members who “have suffered hardship, pain and loss because of their dedication to working with us to build a better future for all Afghans.”
The spokesperson added that the U.S. has been “working tirelessly to improve access to the airport” and to assist people eligible for flights.
EXCLUSIVE: Local U.S. Embassy Kabul staff is losing faith in evacuation efforts, per cable obtained by @NBCNews. “It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again, said one.“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another said. https://t.co/zFyyQzblgr
— Abigail Williams (@Abs_NBC) August 22, 2021
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