Jake Sullivan: We Don’t Know the Precise Number of Americans Still in Afghanistan

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Biden administration still did not know the precise number of Americans waiting to be evacuated from Afghanistan.

Guest anchor Brianna Keilar said, “Can you just tell us, do you know how many Americans and legal permanent residents are currently in Afghanistan, awaiting evacuation?”

Sullivan said, “We cannot give you a precise number. We believe it is several thousand Americans who are — we are working with now to try to get safely out of the country. The reason we can’t give you a precise number is that we ask Americans, when they come to Afghanistan, to register with the embassy. Many come and do that, but then they leave and never deregister. Many others come and don’t register at all. That’s their right. It was their right, of course, to remain in Afghanistan as long as they wanted, and it’s our responsibility to get them out. That is what we are in the process of doing right now. We are working hard to organize groups of Americans, to bring them on the airbase, get them on flights and get them out of the country.”

He added, “We’ve been in contact with a few thousand Americans, and we are working hard to make arrangements, make plans with each of those people and each of their families to get them safely to the airport and get them out. We’re communicating with them by email, by telephone, by text message. They’ve been very responsive, and, as I said before, this is an operational and logistical challenge and a risky and dynamic environment, but we are executing a plan to get those American citizens out of the country.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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