While addressing the nation, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was unable to say how many Americans were left in Afghanistan after the military finished withdrawing from the country.
Blinken — after touting the completion of the operation to evacuate as many Americans and U.S. Afghan allies from Afghanistan after President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal — was unable to say the exact number of Americans they left behind. He said, “more than 123,000 people have been safely flown out of Afghanistan,” including 6,000 American citizens.
However, when talking about the “Americans who remain in Afghanistan,” he said we “made extraordinary efforts to give Americans every opportunity to depart the country, in many cases, talking and sometimes walking them into the airport.”
“We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave,” the secretary said, trying to explain the number of Americans they believe are still stranded in the county.
“We’re trying to determine exactly how many. We’re going through manifests and calling and texting through our lists and will have more details to share as soon as possible,” he added.
Blinken also claimed that many of the American citizens who are now left are torn between leaving and staying, calling it a “painful choice.” He claims many are dual citizens with “deep roots and extended families in Afghanistan who resided there for many years.”
Furthermore, he explained that the administration’s commitment to those left in Afghanistan and Americans in other places of the world continues, claiming that “if an American in Afghanistan tells us they want to stay for now and in a week or month or year, they reach out and say I’ve changed my mind, we will help them leave.”
Lastly, Blinken said the U.S. will continue to try to “evacuate and relocate” more of the Afghans who worked alongside Americans and are at risk. “We’ve gotten many out, but many are still there. We will keep working to help them. Our commitment to them has no deadline.”
Curtis Houck, managing editor at NewsBusters posted the clip of the speech on Twitter:
Blinken talks about Americans left behind, adding he DOESN'T KNOW how many are left: "We made extraordinary efforts to give Americans every opportunity to depart the country…We believe there are still a small number of Americans…We're trying to determine exactly how many." pic.twitter.com/59G0NpPJCD
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 30, 2021
During a Pentagon briefing with spokesman John Kirby and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, McKenzie acknowledged people remaining in the country still need to be evacuated.
“We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” he said, describing the number as in “the very low hundreds.”
Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.