Journalists dispute Biden's Taliban claim: 'Reality and the rhetoric are miles apart'

Journalists are disputing President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE’s Friday claim that Americans have been able to make it through the Taliban to get to Kabul international airport to evacuate the country.

“We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get in Kabul through the airport. We’ve made an agreement with the Taliban thus far," Biden said during a press conference at the White House. "They’ve allowed them to go through. It’s in their interest for them to go through, so we know of no circumstance where American citizens carrying American passports are trying to get through to the airport. But we will do whatever needs to be done to see to it they get to the airport."

Journalists on the ground and monitoring the situation fired back, saying Afghan allies and U.S. citizens have faced violence trying to get to the airport.


"The president said he has no intelligence that the Americans have not been able to get [to the Kabul airport]. The question, obviously — does that square with reporting on ground?" David Muir, the anchor of ABC's “World News Tonight,” asked a colleague.

“I mean — just totally not,” replied Ian Pannell, ABC’s senior foreign correspondent, highlighting Americans who had their passports at the airport and were still not allowed to get through.

“They were beaten by the Taliban,” Pannell said. “The reality and the rhetoric are miles apart, and not quite sure what advice the president is receiving. The truth on the ground is these people who fear for their lives can’t get through.”


U.S. officials have told Americans and Afghan allies to go to the airport to be evacuated but could not guarantee their safety getting there.

“Simply not accurate,” Pannell added of the president’s comment, quote-tweeting a video of a U.S. citizen saying the Taliban wasn’t letting people through.

“I have gotten MULTIPLE messages from people with documents -- including a US green card holder, who said the Taliban beat her nephew when he tried to escort her in. They were separated in the crowd. She got in. He did not. Now, she fears for his life,” tweeted Eena Ruffini, CBS News foreign correspondent.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, tweeted a quote from her colleague who is on the ground in Kabul saying it is “extremely difficult and it’s dangerous” for even Americans to get to the airport.


There are still thousands of Americans and Afghan allies who are trapped in the country who were unable to flee due to the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country in a mere few days.

“President Biden just described a very orderly process, an American airlift that is going efficiently, that there’s a negotiation with the Taliban, that it may be difficult but Afghans can get to the airport and then get on these flights and then come to places like Doha,” said Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, Mediaite reported. “It is far more chaotic than that."

Biden did highlight the dangers of the situation occurring in the country and evacuation proceedings, making no promises of a swift resolution to the situation.

“Make no mistake, this evacuation mission is dangerous. It involves risks to our armed forces and it's being conducted under difficult circumstances,” Biden said. “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or ... that it will be without risk of loss. But as commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.”