Joe Biden told military officials he was reluctant to deploy US forces outside the Kabul airport perimeter over fears of a Black Hawk Down-style tragedy.
In a video conference last week, the president also negatively commented on how quickly the Afghan government fell apart and told commanders he wanted them to be focused on beefing up security at the airport.
During the call, the president alluded to the ‘Black Hawk Down’ tragedy of the Somali Civil War, which saw 18 US personnel killed.
In 1993, US forces tried to capture key allies of Somali general Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Adid had overthrown President Mohamed Siad Barre’s socialist government.
During the raid, 18 Americans and two United Nations soldiers were killed after two Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by RPGs.
The bodies of some American soldiers were dragged through the streets of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, with the incident later inspiring a 2001 Ridley Scott film, also titled Black Hawk Down.
Harrison reacts to news that US Border Patrol agents are being asked to volunteer to help process Afghan refugees.
Biden has since changed his mind, with secretive rescue missions currently being flown in Kabul.
In Kabul, the are other ‘sortie’ flights – made by a single military aircraft – happening outside of the airport, but officials won’t reveal the airlift sites for security reasons.
‘On occasion, as needed, our commanders have the authority they need to use their assets and their forces to help assist Americans who need to get to the airport, get to the airport, on a case-by-case basis,’ said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Monday.