The majority of Americans feel they cannot trust President Joe Biden and his administration when it comes to what they say about the situation in Afghanistan, according to a new poll released Thursday.
Only 34 per cent of likely U.S. voters said they trust what Biden administration officials are saying regarding the chaotic scene in Kabul after the Taliban was able to take over the country in less than two weeks.
In the Rasmussen Reports poll 54 per cent of respondents said they don’t trust what administration officials are saying about the Afghanistan withdrawal and 11 per cent say they are unsure.
The new survey was released as the administration continues to stonewall and deflect, and the president often refuses to take questions from the media on the matter.
Unclear still is how many Americans are on the ground in Afghanistan and need evacuation before the impending August 31 deadline for a full U.S. troop withdrawal.
The poll was taken August 24-25 among 1,000 likely U.S. voters.
It was before two bombings at Kabul airport gates lead to 60 casualties, including four confirmed U.S. Marine deaths. The attacks also injured several other American service members and Afghans attempting to flee at the airport.
‘We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport,’ Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed in a Thursday statement. ‘A number of others are being treated for wounds.’
‘We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack.’
Some reports indicate as many as 11 U.S. Marines and one Navy medic died in the bombings.
Despite the chaotic scenes – even before the Thursday attacks – Biden rejected that there was violence at the airport and that Americans couldn’t get there for evacuation.
He also said in an interview last week that ‘no one is being killed’, even though there were already several deaths related to the disastrous airport evacuations last week.
Only 34 per cent of likely U.S. voters feel they can ‘trust’ Joe Biden and his officials when it comes to information about the situation in Afghanistan
The poll comes as Biden continues to deflect and refuse to speak with media about the chaotic scenes in Kabul
President Biden has still not weighed in on the attack or the confirmation that at least four U.S. Marines are dead because of it.
The White House briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki was supposed to take place at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday but was postponed. A bilateral meeting between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was also put off.
Biden canceled his virtual meeting with U.S. governors to discuss resettling Afghan refugees in their states and the State Department announced it was canceling its Thursday afternoon briefing.
The White House COVID-19 briefing was also delayed indefinitely.
The Pentagon will brief Americans on the situation in a 3:00 p.m. press conference.
There are questions emerging over whether the U.S. will retaliate now that Americans were killed on the ground.
Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that if there was any interference in evacuation efforts, there would be a ‘forceful’ response.
‘If in the end Americans are blocked from getting to the airport, blocked from leaving the country, or our operations are disrupted or our evacuations are in some way interfered with, we have explained to them that there will be a swift and forceful response,’ Sullivan told NBC News host Chuck Todd during an interview on Meet the Press on Sunday morning.
Biden’s original deal to get all troops out by August 31 had the caveat that the Taliban could not bring harm to U.S. service members on the ground or obstruct evacuation efforts.
He has also doubled-down on his decision to remove troops and has reiterated as early as this week that he would keep to the August 31 deadline for troop withdrawal after the Taliban warned of ‘consequences’ if the ‘red line’ date was not met.
As the president remains silent on the attack, Republicans are outraged and accuse Biden of having ‘blood on his hands.’
Senator Lindsey Graham urged the U.S. to take back control of Bagram airbase in the aftermath of two explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
‘I have advocated for days that the Bagram Air Base should be reopened as the Kabul airport is very difficult to defend and has been the only evacuation outlet,’ the South Carolina Republican tweeted on Thursday.
‘We have the capability to reestablish our presence at Bagram to continue to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies. The biggest mistake in this debacle is abandoning Bagram.’
The poll was released before two bombings near the Kabul airport where reports say 11 Marines and one Navy medic were killed along with dozens of other Afghans trying to flee the country
An ISIS-K suicide bomber blew himself up amid the swarms of people outside the airport Thursday. ISIS-K is also a sworn enemy of the Taliban.
A second explosion was reported nearby a short time later at the airport’s Abbey Gate, where crowds of Afghans have been gathering for more than a week in the hope of being put on one of the evacuation flights out of the country.
The State Department has warned Americans to evacuate the area immediately.
‘I urge the Biden Administration to reestablish our presence in Bagram as an alternative to the Kabul airport so that we do not leave our fellow citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,’ Graham said.
‘The retaking of Bagram would put our military at risk, but I think those involved in the operation would gladly accept that risk because it would restore our honor as a nation and save lives.’
Lawmakers were briefed on the situation this week by Biden’s national security team.
Meanwhile, Democrat Foreign Affairs Committee chair Sen. Bob Menendez, said: ‘This is a full-fledged humanitarian crisis and US government personnel … must secure the airport.’
‘As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.’
House Republican leader Representative Kevin McCarthy called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring back the lower chamber so that lawmakers can be briefed on the situation.
‘Today’s attacks are horrific. My prayers go out to those who were injured and the families of those who were killed. I also continue to pray for the safety of our troops, the stranded American citizens, our allies and Afghan partners who remain in the area. Our enemies have taken advantage of the chaotic nature of the withdrawal,’ the California Republican said in a statement.
‘It is time for Congress to act quickly to save lives. Speaker Pelosi must bring Congress back into session before August 31 so that we can be briefed thoroughly and comprehensively by the Biden Administration and pass Representative Gallagher’s legislation prohibiting the withdrawal of our troops until every American is out of Afghanistan.’
Other lawmakers submitted an outpouring of prayers for American troops on the ground and Afghans fleeing the country.
Still nothing from the president.