The Pentagon this week revealed the White House and Secretary of State have not been honest about the number of Americans abandoned in Afghanistan. It is now confirmed that at least 450 American citizens remain in the Taliban-controlled country, not the 100 citizens that President Joe Biden assured the public in early September.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken originally said the Biden administration believed there to be “under 200, and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave,” on Aug. 30, the day before the last American troops left Afghanistan. His and Biden’s statements came as the hasty retreat garnered the anger of the American public, especially after the death of thirteen U.S. Service members at the hands of ISIS.
“In terms of how many American citizens we estimate are currently in 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,” Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said at a Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing Tuesday.
That’s in addition to another 243 American citizens have been contacted bringing the total number of citizens remaining to 439, he stated.
Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma asked Khal about the numbers the administration previously released about those left in Afghanistan. “One of the many confusing things about this whole thing is that we really don’t know how many Americans are left in Afghanistan,” he said.
Inhofe noted that the administration “always said 100 to 200 U.S. citizens left in Afghanistan,” but now says it “has already withdrawn 234 and is in contact with 363 others, 176 of whom want to leave,” referring to numbers given by the State Department last week.
Biden’s poll numbers remain at a record low for modern presidents with much of the angst resulting from Afghanistan in addition to the economy, vaccine mandates and immigration.