State Department Discovers 76 More Missing Americans in Afghanistan

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 file photo, Mohammad Faizi, center, speaks during a news conference in El Cajon, Calif. He and his family were visiting relatives in Afghanistan in August, and were forced to escape as the Taliban seized power. Faizi, a green card holder from the …
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

The U.S State Department announced that they had discovered another 76 American citizens stuck in Afghanistan in the past week.

In late August, President Joe Biden withdrew U.S. forces from Afghanistan, resulting in a crisis that left hundreds of American citizens waiting idly in the country. Biden says rescuing all American citizens stuck in Afghanistan is a priority. The president told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”

Despite Biden’s pledge, there are still U.S. citizens left in the country close to two months later, and the numbers keep fluctuating.

On September 27, a State Department official reported 100 American citizens and lawful permanent residents were left in Afghanistan and ready to leave. The following day, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said “fewer than 100 American citizens” were prepared to go.

On October 18, a spokesman for the department said the range of Americans left in Afghanistan “is somewhere in between 100 and 200.” Last Thursday, CNN reported that the U.S. State Department told congressional staff they were contacting 363 Americans left in Afghanistan. Of those 363 citizens, 176 are ready for departure.

However, on Tuesday, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl testified before the U.S. Senate and reported that those numbers increased since last Thursday.

Kahl told Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK):

In terms of how many American citizens we estimate are currently Afghanistan, the Department of State is in contact with 196 American citizens who are ready to depart, and arrangements are being made for them to do so either via air or over ground, and another 243 American citizens have been contacted and are not ready to depart, either because they want to stay in Afghanistan or are not ready.

These latest numbers mean between last Thursday and Tuesday, the department found 76 more American citizens in the country, of which 20 are ready to leave, and 56 want to stay behind.

The Americans left behind in Afghanistan who are not ready to leave yet choose to stay for their family. As the National Review reported, “One family member can legally leave the country, but he would have to leave his spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc. behind to live under the rule of the Taliban.”

According to Brian McKeon, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, evacuation flights from Kabul International Airport will resume soon. McKeon told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday he expects “several dozen Americas” will be evacuated from the country this week. “If we continue to have success with these charter flights, I think all of these people who say they are ready to depart will have an opportunity to depart in the next couple of weeks,” McKeon continued.

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