President Joe Biden told reporters Friday that the United States still doesn’t know how many Americans there are in Afghanistan, but will evacuate all US citizens who want to leave the country.
“We don’t know the exact number of Americans there, so we’re working to see how many Americans are still in the country,” Biden said at the White House in Washington.
“We want to get a strong number of exactly how many Americans are there and where they are,” he added.
The government’s estimate of the number of Americans stuck in Afghanistan ranged from 5,000 to 15,000. Authorities say they don’t know the number because Americans don’t have to report to the government when traveling abroad.
The United States withdrew most of its personnel from the country by August 14, but thousands of troops returned in a hurry after the Taliban fought the Afghan army and took over the country. The United States has about 6,000 soldiers at Kabul’s airport, but few others. The military chose not to rescue the stranded people and allowed Americans and Afghans seeking special visas to pass Taliban terrorists to reach US territory.
Some Americans told the press that they were stopped by Taliban fighters trying to reach the airport, and the U.S. embassy emphasized that the government could not ensure a safe passage, but with Biden. His administration continues to insist that they don’t know people and can’t get there.
“There is no sign that they couldn’t get to the airport through Kabul,” Biden said. “As far as we know, the Taliban checkpoints pass through people showing American passports.”
He added that U.S. military officials are in “constant contact” with the Taliban before promising to expel all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan.
“Any American who wants to go home, we’ll take you home,” he said. He made a similar oath to Afghanistan’s allies who helped the United States.
If the deadline for August 31 is approaching and the evacuation is not completed by then, the government has not promised to postpone it.
The Taliban warned the United States to withdraw completely or face the consequences by September 11.
“I can’t promise what the end result will be, but I can promise that there will be no risk or loss, but as Commander-in-Chief, I can guarantee that I will mobilize all the resources I need,” Biden said. increase.
Since August 14, US military flights have taken away 12,000 people, many of them Afghans. According to the White House, others have set out on private charter flights.
Yesterday, 5,700 people were evacuated due to the rising evacuation rate.
However, a one-hour pause on Friday can threaten progress. According to Biden, the suspension occurred because US officials wanted to ensure that evacuees could be dealt with.
The president asked the question for the first time since last week. He plans to stay in Washington on Friday night before traveling to his home in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday.