Blinken says 100 Americans still trying to get out of Afghanistan as GOP lawmakers call for his head

Dozens of Americans still in Afghanistan as many decided only recently to leave, secretary claims

John Bowden
Monday 13 September 2021 22:29 BST
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Blinken confirms 100 still await evacuation from Afghanistan

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that roughly 100 American citizens who had indicated desires to leave Afghanistan remained in the country as of Monday.

His remarks came during Monday’s hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which met to question the top diplomat about the chaotic exit from Kabul by US forces throughout the end of August, when the Biden administration airlifted tens of thousands of US forces and others out of the country following the fall of the capital to the Taliban.

“As of the end of last week, we had about 100 American citizens in Afghanistan who told us they want to leave the country,” Mr Blinken said, calling it a “moving picture”.

The number of Americans still showing some interest in leaving Afghanistan has differed little from late August when the evacuations concluded and Mr Blinken said at the time that around 200 remained in the country.

Possible explanations for the slow pace include both personal reasons among those who are considering leaving that have prevented them from doing so thus far as well as the ongoing chaos presented by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan; international flights only recently resumed from Kabul’s airport, and flights with some Americans and others are thought to be grounded in Mazar-i-Sharif, a northern city, as well.

Mr Blinken testified on Monday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee regarding the Biden administration’s withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, during which he blamed the chaos surrounding the US exit on the situation left to the White House to deal with after the Trump administration left office.

President Joe Biden and his allies have hammered the deal reached between the Trump administration and the Taliban which set a deadline for the US withdrawal from the country in recent days while at the same time remaining firm in their assertions that more military might or a longer US presence would not have produced a more favorable outcome.

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