Reported by CHRIS ENLOE | August 21, 2021
CNN reporter Clarissa Ward, the network’s chief foreign correspondent, chose the consummate word to describe President Joe Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal as she waited to depart Kabul on Friday.
While waiting inside the Kabul airport compound for her flight to Qatar, Ward — who had become the face of on-the-ground reporting from Kabul since the Taliban overtook the city — succinctly described Biden’s withdrawal as an utter “failure.”
“These kids behind me, sleeping on the gravel on a piece of cardboard box, are the lucky ones because there are many others, thousands of them, just outside the perimeter,” Ward began. “I saw with my own eyes the Taliban fighters beating them, mothers throwing their babies trying to get them inside the airport compound.’
“It is just a picture of desperation– of failure, as well, failure to protect our allies, failure to plan for this eventuality,” she proclaimed.
Ward explained there is “a lot of bitterness” among people in Kabul that “every eventuality was not planned for, that evacuations did not begin earlier.”
“Seeing these scenes, seeing this heartache, seeing this desperation, and seeing this chaos,” Ward continued, “you have to ask yourself: ‘Surely there was a better way, surely there was a better way.'”
Prior to departing Afghanistan, Ward directly contradicted Biden’s claim that Americans trapped in Afghanistan were not experiencing difficulty reaching the Kabul airport.
“Working out how to get into this airport is like a Rubik’s cube,” Ward said. “It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult. It’s not a simple process at all.”
“Technically, it’s possible, but it’s extremely difficult — and it is dangerous,” Ward added.
Ward and her CNN team landed safety in Doha, Qatar, shortly before midnight EST on Saturday.
“Just landed in Doha with the team and nearly 300 Afghan evacuees. Huge thanks to all of you for your support and concern, to the US Air Force for flying us out and to Qatar for welcoming us. We are the lucky ones,” Ward said.