Ex-U.S. Army Captain calls America's friendship a ‘death sentence’ unless Afghan allies can be saved

Matthew Zeller, who served in Afghanistan as an Army Captain, raised the alarm for the potential civilian toll of the Taliban’s rapid advance toward Kabul. 

“Unfortunately, at this point, it seems to be that American friendship is, in fact, a death sentence, unless we save our Afghan wartime allies, they’re going to be murdered by the Taliban,” said the co-founder of “No One Left Behind,” an organization that helps get special visas for interpreters from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Thus far, I have not heard a single thing from this administration and how we’re going to protect the some 44,000 of those people who live currently outside of Kabul.” 

Since President Joe Biden set a Sept. 11 deadline to remove all troops from Afghanistan in April, the Taliban have made far-reaching battlefield advances across Afghanistan with now nearly two-thirds of the nation under their control.

On Thursday the city of Ghanzi fell to the Taliban — their 10th Afghan provincial capital. Zeller told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that he served in and lived in Ghanzi, and the fall of the city reflected poorly on the U.S.  

“This is such a shameful day for our country, because we could have saved our Afghan wartime allies before all of this transpired,” Zeller said. “The Biden administration seems to have been so concerned with the optics of a chaotic evacuation that in choosing to do nothing, up until now, they have ensured the very thing that they were most afraid of, a chaotic evacuation.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing Thursday that the Biden administration will deploy 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, in order to facilitate the drawdown of personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Zeller said the fall of Kabul was inevitable unless the U.S. “massively increases the number of military forces and turns the tide, I don’t see how the Taliban does not win within the next couple of weeks, if not days.”

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. 

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