We’re all supposed to be very impressed by the news that 4,400 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

And indeed, that number sounds OK as long as you don’t consider the total number of evacuees the White House has been touting, which is close to 80,000 more than 4,400. And as long as you don’t think about how many Americans are still “on their own.”

And as long as you don’t think about this:

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s largely up to other citizens and organizations to get people out of Afghanistan, since the U.S. government is severely slacking off. And apparently blocking people from leaving:

“It’s a combination of tragic, surreal and apocalyptic,” said Stacia George, director of the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program, who has been working round-the-clock to get people out of Kabul. “It’s so frustrating to get high-risk people up to the gate and have them risking their lives to go there and you still can’t get them through. It’s a disaster in slow- and fast-motion.”

Last week, Sayara International, a Washington-based development firm that has long worked in Afghanistan, lined up plans to take 1,000 Afghan refugees to Uganda, whose government has offered sanctuary. Sayara chartered three planes for the operation, said George Abi-Habib, one of the company’s co-founders. Then it ran into a series of obstacles. Marines at the airport gates refused to allow Afghans with seats on the plane to get inside. At one point, Sayara started charging some passengers for seats to fill a cash shortfall it needed to plug before they could fly out of the country, Mr. Abi-Habib said. One Ugandan woman had to crawl through a sewage pipe to get into the airport, he added.

The same thing happened on Sunday to a charter flight heading for Ukraine. Activists brought 40 vulnerable Afghan women to the chaotic airport gates where they carried balloons that said “Ukraine” on them so they could be easily identified. But U.S. soldiers wouldn’t let them through, Ms. George said. The flight, which had been waiting for two days to try to get the women on board, took off without them. In all, said Ms. George, 70 of the 240 seats were empty.

Planes are leaving Afghanistan mostly empty. While some flights are charging a fee for evacuees, like defense contractor Erik Prince’s $6,500-per-person flights:

That doesn’t appear to be the case for many others, whose helping hands are evidently being tied by the U.S. government. It defies explanation.

Here’s what Dr. Shanker is referring to:

To answer Dr. Shanker’s question, it seems like keeping people with a chance to escape from escaping is the bigger evil. Without the government’s help, other groups are trying to help. And Joe Biden’s decision to abide by the Taliban’s deadline is only making these groups’ work — and Afghans’ lives — more difficult.