White House says it’s ‘in touch with’ around 100 Americans left in Afghanistan

Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s comments were slammed by Republicans

Helen Elfer
Sunday 05 September 2021 22:02
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The White House estimates that around 100 US citizens remain in Afghanistan, despite the administration’s deadline for evacuating them having passed almost a week ago.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on Sunday “We’re in touch with all of them who we’ve identified on a regular basis.”

He added that the White House was “hopeful that in the coming days the Qataris will be able to resume air service out of Kabul. If they do, we’re obviously going to look to see if Americans can be part of those flights," he said.

Mr Klain went on to speak to the issue of the thousands of Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas who were also left behind when the US military ended its presence in Afghanistan on August 31. Many have reportedly been targeted by the Taliban.

He said the administration was “in close communication with our sources and our contacts in Afghanistan to try to get [Afghan] SIVs out safely,”

“I know some are coming out by land,” he added. “We are continuing to work on efforts to get them out by air as well. We’re going to continue to move those SIVs out of the country.”

“We launched a historic airlift that brought 124,000 people out of Afghanistan, American citizens, legal permanent residents of this country, residents of other countries, and a lot of Afghan nationals,” Mr Klain added.

“We’re ultimately going to resettle them in Europe and the United States, and that’s a big part of rescuing that SIV population.”

The Republican National Committee’s RNC Research account posted a scathing response to Mr Klain’s comments, posting: “Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain doesn’t know how many Americans are stranded in Afghanistan, how many have gotten out since the military pulled out, or how they’ll be evacuated.”

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