About 1,500 Americans remain in Afghanistan after about 4,500 have been evacuated, a top US executive said Wednesday.
Evacuation efforts began on August 14, after a Taliban terrorist group hijacked the country. That day, there were 6,000 Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave the country, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Washington.
Since then, approximately 4,500 US passport holders have been evacuated with their immediate families.
Over the past 24 hours, US authorities have contacted approximately 500 other Americans directly to give specific instructions on how to safely reach a US-owned airport in Kabul.
For the remaining 1,000 or so Americans, officials said, “We actively contact many times a day through multiple communication channels such as phone, email, and text messages, and whether they still want to leave. And get the latest information, and instructions to them on how to do it, “Blinken said.
According to Blinken, some Americans who reported entry left without telling US authorities, while others were not actually American citizens.
In addition, others, including dual citizens, may have changed their desire to leave.
“They may change their minds from one day to the next, as they did and are likely to happen,” Blinken said of the situation in a war-torn country. I’m very afraid of all, “said some Americans.
U.S. military officials have confirmed that Taliban fighters have set up checkpoints around the airport, beating some Americans and preventing some from passing through.
In addition, US officials are increasingly warning about activities from ISIS-K, an affiliate of the ISIS Terrorist Group in Kabul.
“The potential for an ISIS-K attack is very realistic,” Blinken said in one of the toughest warnings to date.
It has spurred active efforts by State Department officials to work 24 hours a day to reach out to the rest of the Americans.
Last Wednesday, the United States said 19,000 people had evacuated from the airport on US or US-promoted flights in the last 24 hours. According to Blinken, this included more than 500 Americans.
Since August 14, the US and Allied forces have evacuated approximately 88,000 people, mainly Afghans.
The US military is scheduled to withdraw on August 31, and began withdrawing troops this week. Approximately 400 troops flew out as ground commanders decided they were no longer needed.