The U.S. State Department recently hosted an ‘off-the-record’ call that reveals the true number of Americans the federal government believes are trapped in Afghanistan are as many as six times what the public has been told.
The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and State Department spokespersons have insistent for weeks that the number stranded in Afghanistan is around 100 Americans. The actual figure of approximately 600 Americans was revealed in an ‘off-the-record’ State Department call that was reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Biden administration is in touch with nearly 400 Americans who are stranded in Afghanistan, a figure that far exceeds the administration’s claims that about 100 Americans were left in the nation following the United States’ hurried exit from Kabul, according to a senior congressional source who was briefed Thursday by the State Department.
With Afghanistan in the administration’s rear-view mirror, U.S. officials are providing exact figures on the number of Americans who are still stranded and want to leave—although they are doing so in private, off-the-record forums—according to two senior congressional aides, who relayed the contents of the non-public call to the Washington Free Beacon.
These U.S. civilians have been at the mercy of the ruthless Taliban government and possible terrorist reprisal, despite the president’s promise to rescue them or leave a military presence that would secure their safe exit. The Free Beacon provides further details on what its Capitol Hil sources told it:
The United States is in touch with 363 Americans who are stuck in war-torn Afghanistan and around 176 U.S. permanent residents who are asking to be evacuated immediately, Biden administration officials said on the call with congressional staff, according to the source, who requested anonymity to discuss non-public information. These figures demonstrate that senior Biden administration officials routinely misrepresented the number of stranded Americans to the public and Congress for nearly two months.
The State Department further claims to have airlifted 218 U.S. citizens and 131 long-term permanent residents out of Afghanistan since Aug. 31, when senior Biden administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, were publicly claiming that “around 100” Americans were still stuck in the nation. Psaki, for instance, said last month that only “a handful of American citizens” were trying to leave Afghanistan after the United States pulled its forces. The figures presented in Thursday’s briefing indicate the administration was citing the “around 100” talking point while privately being aware of nearly 600 Americans still inside Afghanistan.
“We now know this administration repeatedly lied to the world about the citizens of our country it abandoned in Afghanistan,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-CA), whose office has assisted with evacuating Americans, told the Free Beacon. “But it did something even worse: It broke a sacred bond of trust between Americans and their government. This isn’t close to over.”
In September, Becker News first reported that the State Department blocked private and humanitarian flights in and out of Afghanistan. Fox News later obtained leaked internal emails that provided further proof that the State Department hindered Americans’ efforts to exit the country.
Also in early September, a ‘hostage crisis’ was reported at Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Northern Afghanistan, where the Taliban grounded flights of U.S. civilians seeking to flee the country.
“CBS has learned multiple flights are being held on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport in Northern Afghanistan… by the Taliban,” Eena Ruffini reported. “An email from the State Department to members of congress — and viewed by CBS — acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip and have permission to land in Doha ‘if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff’.’
“The State Department advised members of congress to tell groups seeking to evacuate out of Mazar-i-Sharif that the US does not have personnel on the ground in that location and does not control the airspace,” Ruffini added. “Congressional and NGO sources say here are at least two physical plans on the ground and six more with approved clearance. The obstacle is the Taliban — which controls the airport and is not letting people board or the planes take off.”
The Biden administration consistently downplayed there was any crisis in the wartorn country where the U.S. had fought for nearly two decades. In August, CNN debunked Psaki’s earlier claim that no Americans were “stranded” in Afghanistan.
CNN’s Jake Tapper fact checks Psaki for saying Americans are “not” stranded in Afghanistan.
“There are no doubt Americans who feel stranded in Afghanistan right now.” pic.twitter.com/MaaYR1gMiE
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 23, 2021
In early September, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on “Morning Joe” to reassure Americans the Biden administration was “close” to getting all Americans who wanted to leave out of Afghanistan.
“But is it fair to say you’re getting close with this flight and perhaps others to getting every American who wants to leave Afghanistan out of the country,” Willie Geist asked. “Are you close?”
“That’s what we’re working toward, absolutely,” Psaki said.
“And are you close now?” Geist pressed.
“We’re getting closer,” Psaki responded.
It is now late October. Soon it will be November. There has been an ongoing crisis in Afghanistan impacting Americans left behind by the Biden administration this entire time. President Biden not only didn’t believe this was enough of an urgent matter to bring to the full attention of the American people, it appears his administration has done very little to remedy the situation.
President Biden took a huge hit to his approval ratings beginning with the chaotic Afghanistan exit. The U.S. news media’s subsequent void on Afghanistan coverage followed these tanking Biden approval ratings. As Becker News reported exclusively earlier, multiple Pentagon sources reported there was a “lockdown” on all Requests for Information (RFIs) after the Afghanistan military withdrawal.
“The White House Counsel (via the National Security Council’s legal department) told multiple federal agencies and departments not to respond to Afghanistan correspondence, with more guidance to follow,” Pentagon sources confirmed.
The White House thus had issued the internal order to “ghost” the media seeking truthful and accurate information on Afghanistan. It appears the U.S. media have fallen in line and have left Americans in the dark and behind enemy lines.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.