Afghan chaos

Over 30 years have passed since “Clarissa Explains it All” premiered on the kids’ cable channel Nickelodeon. 

But recently a real-life Clarissa — Clarissa Ward, CNN’s chief international correspondent and a graduate of Yale — offered an eyewitness account from Afghanistan so incredible that it prompted both chuckles and the temptation to “upchuck.” 

Clad in a burqa to reflect the return of the Taliban to power, Ward described the collective disposition of the victorious jihadists for CNN’s dwindling audience: “They’re chanting ‘Death to America,’ but they seem friendly at the same time.”

Her on-the-ground assessment prompted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to tweet out an obvious question: “Is there an enemy of America for whom CNN won’t cheerlead?”

In Takhar province, a woman was shot and killed for not wearing a burqa when she went out in public.

Meantime, the public “face” of the Taliban, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, held a press conference to insist that women’s rights would be honored in the newly renamed Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, but he included a huge caveat. The Taliban, he said, is “committed to the rights of women under the system of Sharia law.”

Sharia law? Guess that means it’s still OK to kill women not wearing burqas in public.

In Washington, the burqaless and seemingly clueless White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, offered the Biden administration’s new definition of “American Exceptionalism,” which apparently now means that the U.S. government places a priority on helping people leave Afghanistan — except those who are American citizens.

When asked if the U.S. could offer “any guarantee” to Americans who might be stuck in Afghanistan past the administration’s withdrawal deadline of Aug. 31, Ms. Psaki responded “that is day by day, getting as many American citizens, as many SIV (special immigrant visa) applicants, as many members of vulnerable populations who are eligible to be evacuated, to the airport and out on planes.”

Jen may have listed Americans first in her response, but in reality, the emphasis was on non-Americans. On Aug. 15, a U.S. Air Force C-17 was packed with 640 Afghan refugees, who escaped to Qatar.

Three days later, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued this security alert: The U.S. government cannot ensure safe passage to the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The fact that the alert was composed in capital letters underscored the urgency of the message and the dilemma confronting the American citizens who are stuck in Afghanistan, numbering between 10,000 and 40,000.

In his televised address of Aug. 16, President Biden claimed that “we planned for every contingency,” but he also admitted “this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”

Then, he dusted off a line that was a combination of Richard Nixon and Harry Truman: “I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.”

Apparently satisfied that his remarks would placate the population, Mr. Biden had returned to politicizing the pandemic by midweek.

But there is no vaccine for the collective vexation of American voters. Independents who watched the speech reacted by giving it an “F.”

An “F-word” is undoubtedly on the minds of the Americans stranded in Afghanistan: forgotten.

With Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin telling reporters they’ll only evacuate Americans “until the clock runs out,” our fellow Americans trapped there must dream of “turning the clock back.” 

Some entire families are stranded; they undoubtedly are concerned that they could become captives.

To placate their kids, some worried parents are probably watching old Nickelodeon shows… including “Clarissa Explains it All.” 


J.D. Hayworth worked as a sportscaster at Channel 10, Phoenix from 1987 until 1994 and represented Arizona in Congress from 1995-2007.