200 AMERICANS STILL REMAIN IN AFGHANSTAN
Nearly 200 Americans who want to leave Afghanistan remain in the country nearly two months after the U.S. military’s evacuation mission ended at the Kabul airport.
The State Department is now making arrangements to move the roughly 196 Americans from Afghanistan “either via air or overground,” Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Colin Kahl said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on security in Afghanistan. Since Sept. 1, about 240 American citizens and 57 U.S. green card holders have left the country.
On Aug. 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said between 100-200 — “but likely closer to 100” — Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan remained there when the last U.S. troops withdrew from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. However, Blinken noted his agency was still “trying to determine exactly how many” Americans remained there.
The State Department also has contacted another 244 U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who “are not ready to depart either because they want to stay or aren’t ready” to leave yet, Kahl said.
“The administration by its own account left 600 Americans behind — over 400 of whom want to leave — not the 100 to 200 that has been referred to several times,” Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the committee, said at the hearing. “At the very least, it’s confusing.”
Inhofe also criticized the military’s decision to leave Afghanistan before all Americans were evacuated.
“During the Aug. 18 interview with ABC, George Stephanopoulos asked President Biden whether US troops would stay beyond Aug. 31 if there were still Americans to evacuate. President Biden responded — and this is a quote — ‘if there are American citizens left, we are going to stay to get them out,’ ” Inhofe said. “Of course, this didn’t happen.”