The Biden administration on Monday said it has evacuated nearly 500 U.S. citizens from Afghanistan since the U.S.’s chaotic withdrawal on Aug. 31 while fewer than a dozen U.S. citizens who want to leave are still stuck there.
The numbers, disclosed in a press release from the State Department, are drastically higher than the estimates President Biden gave regarding the number of Americans left behind in Afghanistan after U.S. forces left the country.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay to get them all out,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Aug. 16. Just 15 days later, Biden marked the end of the Afghanistan War with a speech in which he admitted that 100 to 200 Americans remained in Afghanistan, with some intention to leave.
“[W]e believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave,” President Biden said on Aug. 31. “Most of those who remain are dual citizens, long-time residents who had earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan.”
A source familiar with the matter told Fox News that previous estimates of U.S. citizens still residing in Afghanistan grew because not everyone who was eligible to leave had registered with the embassy. In many cases, people wanted to stay because of family or deep cultural roots but later changed their minds.
The State Department said it is “in touch” with the remaining U.S. citizens who want to leave Afghanistan, are prepared to depart, and have the necessary travel documents.
“As Secretary [Anthony] Blinken has said, there is no deadline for this work,” the State Department said in a statement, reaffirming its pledge to help relocate Afghan allies who helped the U.S. during the war.
The State Department said it is continuing to relocate more than 2,200 Afghan allies who worked with the U.S. as well as their families. Many of them are special immigrant visa (SIV) holders or applicants.
Story continues at: Left behind