Speed Reads

reality vs rhetoric

Biden says he's heard of 'no circumstance' in which an American is unable to access Kabul airport. ABC's Ian Pannell begs to differ.

ABC News journalist Ian Pannell, reporting on the ground in Afghanistan, called President Biden out for his Friday claim that Americans stuck in Kabul have had little to no difficulty getting to the airport, telling colleague David Muir that it seems "the reality and the rhetoric are miles apart," per ABC News.

When asked by Muir if Biden's remarks "square with the reporting on the ground," Pannell replied immediately and confidently, "I mean — just totally not." 

"Last night ... we had Americans that had exactly that experience," who presented their passports, as required, and were "beaten by the Taliban with the rubber fan belt from a vehicle," Pannell continued. Americans, Afghans, and special immigrant visa applicants have all reportedly tried and failed to access the airport at times, hindered by dangerous Taliban checkpoints, for example. Biden told reporters Friday that the Taliban has been allowing Americans through, adding "we will do whatever needs to be done to see to it [Americans] get to the airport."

"I'm not quite sure what advice the president is receiving. But the truth on the ground is that these people who are in fear of their lives can't get through," added Pannell.

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