By Jenny Goldsberry
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby downplayed the circumstances of Americans stranded in Afghanistan in a press conference Monday. He admitted that Americans “get stranded in countries all the time.” His comments dispute what the White House declared since people began evacuating Afghanistan.
A week ago, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied that Americans were stranded in the country in a press conference. “First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded,” Psaki said. “They are not.”
Instead, Psaki insisted that their communication strategy is helping get Americans out. “We are committed to bringing Americans, who want to come home, home,” Psaki said. “We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via e-mail, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home.”
Yet an American mother who claimed to be stranded herself said that there have been instances of miscommunication. “For four days, three, four days, we didn’t hear anything from anywhere,” she said. “And then they’re saying to go to the airport, but we’re not being clear guidance. They are saying one thing, and then the next thing, they come and say something else, so you really exactly don’t know what to do. There is a lot of miscommunication going on. You know, your emails are getting ignored.”
Then, photos of abandoned dogs at the Hamid Karzai International Airport made the rounds on Twitter. Some claimed they were military K-9 units. However Kirby also put those rumors to rest.
“To correct erroneous reports, the U.S. Military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs,” Kirby tweeted Tuesday. “Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care.” Why their carriers were seemingly photographed at an airport is still a mystery.
As of Monday, the U.S. military evacuated over 123,000 people.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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Menorah lightings canceled around the world as towns remove Jewish symbols over Hamas war
For the first time in 20 years, the city of Moncton, Canada, decided to not have a menorah displayed outside of its city hall. In Williamsburg, Virginia, The Second Sundays Art and Music Festival, hosted by a nonprofit known as “LoveLight Placemaking” canceled its menorah lighting scheduled for this Sunday.
These are just two examples of towns across the world canceling their menorah lighting ceremonies and removing Hanukkah decorations from their holiday displays “out of concerns that the local governments may appear to be siding with Israel in its ongoing war against Hamas” writes Just The News.
Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting a menorah for eight nights and gradually increasing the number of candles each night; the holiday begins this Thursday evening. Councilmember Daniel Bourgeois told The Canadian Jewish News that counselors were told to either ban all religious symbols on public property or only allow a select few. The city decided to axe the menorah and Nativity display, but keep an official Christmas tree and sponsor the Royale Greater Moncton Santa Claus parade.
“It is unfair because, while banning the Jewish Menorah, the Christmas tree and the angels that are on City Hall ground will remain,” Moncton Jewish Community President Francis Weil said Friday on Facebook. “The Jewish Community is happy that the tree and the angels remain, but so should the Menorah. It is unfair because the Chanukah Menorah is, for Jews, a symbol of being accepted.”
The United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula said Sunday about the Williamsburg festival: “To be clear, the menorah lighting, which was to be led by a local community rabbi, had nothing to do with Israel or the conflict…Yet, appallingly, the event organizer claimed that a Chanukah celebration would send a message that the festival was ‘supporting the killing/bombing of thousands of men, women, and children,’ — and even went a step further, by offering to reinstate the event if it was done under a banner calling for a ceasefire.”
Havering Council in east London reversed its decision after backlash to not display a menorah to avoid “further inflaming tensions” related to the war in Israel, the BBC reported.
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