Multiple government agencies admitted on Thursday they don’t know how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, nor how many need to be evacuated. Department of Defense spokesperson John Kirby first made the confession at a Thursday press conference.
“Pentagon press secretary John Kirby on Thursday admitted he ‘doesn’t know’ how many Americans remain in Afghanistan as the Biden administration scrambles to evacuate American citizens and Afghans at risk of Taliban reprisals from the country,” the New York Post reported.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Ned Price was peppered with questions about the missing Americans at a press conference. He had no good answers.
“Then, just to double down. I mean, we have no numbers,” a reporter said. “I know that you’ve mentioned the 6,000, 7,000, you can’t break it down. You have said specifically that you have notified all Americans that are trying to get out of state. Is there any rough idea of a number, any characterization that you can give? Clearly, they have given you this information. Clearly, they are trying to get out. Is there any idea how many Americans are still trying to get out of Afghanistan?” the reporter asked.
“We have been in contact with the Americans who have requested to be repatriated,” Price said. “We’re just not in a position to give a number right now. We’re more broadly not in a position to offer an aggregate figure, because we are putting forward offers to individuals who may be interested in relocating, in some cases they may opt not to come to the airport. They may opt not to be relocated, for whatever reason.”
“But can you give out those numbers?” another reporter pressed. “Because we did this during Covid, when you guys pulled people out of different countries during Covid— (crosstalk)”
“Christina, we’re talking about a very different universe here, we’re talking about American citizens, we’re talking about third country nationals, we’re talking about Afghan nationals,” Price replied.
“She was talking about American citizens,” another reporter said. “We’re asking about American citizens. You know how many Americans have contacted you and asked to get out. Why can’t you tell us?”
“Perhaps you have some kind of list, right?” the first reporter said. “I mean, you have — and if you’re making these deals to people who have not specifically reached out to you to say, hey, we’re trying to get out of here, does that — is that going to make this a longer process? Going back to her question, is this going to extend this mission further and further past that August 31st deadline?”
“The President has spoken to this, you’ve heard from the Pentagon this morning as well,” Price said. “We are going to do as much as we can for as long as we can.”
On Tuesday, NBC reported that “as many as 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country,” according to Biden administration officials who discussed the matter with Senate staffers.
>“The Washington Post first reported that the staffers were told that 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. citizens remain in the country,” NBC noted.
On Thursday, the White House claimed to have evacuated thousands in a post on Twitter.
Update on the Status of Hamid Karzai International Airport:
-In the last 24 hours: 2,000 people evacuated
-Since August 14th: 7,000 people evacuated
-Since the end of July: 12,000 evacuated
There are currently 5,200 troops on the ground and the airport is secure and open.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 19, 2021
“Update on the Status of Hamid Karzai International Airport: In the last 24 hours: 2,000 people evacuated; Since August 14th: 7,000 people evacuated; Since the end of July: 12,000 evacuated,” the White House claimed. “There are currently 5,200 troops on the ground and the airport is secure and open.”
However, even though the Biden administration is verifiably flying illegal migrants around the country free of charge, the cost to Americans for the evacuation out of Afghanistan is reportedly not free. The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy reported that the price is $2,000 per person, according to government policy.
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