Just weeks after President Joe Biden promised Americans no citizens would be left in Afghanistan, hundreds remain behind enemy lines as the last U.S. military plane took off at 11:59 p.m. Aug. 30.
The Pentagon early Tuesday morning has now admitted that “hundreds” of Americans seeking evacuation have been abandoned in the now terrorist-controlled country.
In announcing that the United States has officially ended its military presence in Afghanistan, hours before Biden’s self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) head Gen. Frank McKenzie said that the number of Americans left in Afghanistan numbers “in the low hundreds.” But others on the ground, including media outlets, say the number likely exceeds 1,000 and that doesn’t include tens of thousands of Afghan partners who helped U.S. war efforts over 20 years.
A Pentagon spokesman earlier on Aug. 30 contradicted McKenzie saying that around 600 Americans still remain in the country.
McKenzie made the remarks during a televised address in response to a reporter’s question, adding that the military and State Department will work to evacuate those who are now considered to be in a hostage situation.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” said McKenzie, breaking every promise made to both Americans at home and in Afghanistan.
The head of U.S. Central Command added that he believed if U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan for a further 10 days, “we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out … and there still would’ve been people who would’ve been disappointed.”
Earlier this month, Biden vowed to keep U.S. troops in the country until all Americans who wished to leave had been evacuated.
The U.S. military objective in Afghanistan was to get “everyone” out, including Americans and our Afghan allies and their families, Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Aug. 18.
“That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there,” Biden said at the time. “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
The U.S. pullout from Afghanistan ended with a rushed evacuation that extracted more than 100,000 people beginning Aug. 14 as the Taliban took over Kabul following a sweeping advance to the capital over only a few days.
Emails released on Monday revealed that the Taliban had given the Biden administration the option of keeping control of Kabul but Biden administration negotiators chose instead to give the Taliban the entire city with U.S. forces moving into the airport only.
Emails released on Monday revealed that the Taliban had given the Biden administration the option of keeping control of Kabul but Biden administration negotiators
On Aug. 26, a bombing at Kabul’s airport claimed the lives of an estimated 170 Afghan civilians, 13 U.S. troops, and three Britons. ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliate, claimed responsibility for the Aug. 26 attack, bragging about a suicide bomber “managing to penetrate all the security fortifications” put into place by U.S. forces and the Taliban.