State Department Spokesman Ned Price could not answer Thursday how many Americans are stranded in Afghanistan.
When asked “how many more Americans are left in Afghanistan” during a press conference, Price started speaking about Americans’ responsibility to register with the State Department when traveling abroad.
“Well, we have been consistent, umm, in, umm, ehhh, in in explaining that in – in – in every country Americans register with the embassy, so its a voluntary thing,” he answered. “The president has been very clear, uhh, that we are going to do as much as we can for as long as we can. And our first priority is the safe repatriation of the American people.”
The War Room at the Republican National Committee caught the moment:
The president’s Pentagon could also not answer the question on Thursday. “I don’t know,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in response to a reporter who asked how many “American citizens” are stranded in Afghanistan.
Despite Biden’s administration not being able to answer, the White House claimed Tuesday the “self-identified” number of Americans in the country is about 11,000.
Meanwhile, the White House celebrated World Humanitarian Day Thursday by releasing a statement praising “humanitarian workers and everyone on the ground advocating for and delivering life-saving aid to the most vulnerable every day.”
“The United States stands with our partners around the world to condemn the killing, kidnapping, or any other attack against humanitarian aid workers and we honor the noble service of the many continuing to serve in the face of these threats,” it added.
Back in Afghanistan, nearly 4,500 American troops are protecting the Kabul airport, while the State Department evacuates those trapped amid the chaos and increased brutalization by the Taliban within the country.
The New York Times reported Thursday Taliban terrorists are “intensifying” their searches for people “they believe worked with U.S. and NATO forces, including among the crowds of Afghans at Kabul’s airport.” The Taliban have stated they will “kill or arrest their family members if they cannot find them.”
An Afghan man sent me this video which he said was raked outside Kabul airport today. How are Americans and Afghans supposed to get through this? pic.twitter.com/PjRTvof5p5
— Jeff Schogol (@JeffSchogol) August 19, 2021
In fact, reports reveal the Taliban fired into a crowd protesting the removal of the Afghan flag. Another report suggests Taliban terrorists are murdering people for having copies of the Bible on their mobile phones. A third video shows bullets being fired at the Kabul airport, as Americans attempt to reach the airport for extraction.
The U.S. embassy in Kabul announced Wednesday flights out of the country will be on a “first come, first serve basis.”
“Please be advised that a significant number of individuals have registered and space on these flights is available on a first come, first serve basis,” the notice reads. “You may be required to wait at the airport for a significant amount of time until space is available.”
The statement also noted the United States government could not secure Americans’ passage to the airfield.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø