Blinken Says Up To 1,500 Americans Still Stranded In Kabul

New York Post

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said that up to 1,500 US citizens are still stranded in Afghanistan — shortly after President Biden joked with a reporter who asked about possibly leaving Americans behind in the Taliban-controlled nation.

Blinken gave the figure after Biden administration officials repeatedly said they didn’t know how many Americans remain in Afghanistan as Biden prepares to remove all US troops within just days to adhere to an Aug. 31 deadline.

“Over the last 10 days, roughly 4,500 of these Americans have been safely evacuated along with immediate family members. Over the past 24 hours, we’ve been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely,” Blinken said.

“We’ll update you regularly on our progress in getting these 500 American citizens out of Afghanistan. For the remaining roughly 1,000 contacts that we have who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, we’re aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day through multiple channels of communication.”

Shortly before Blinken’s press conference, Biden was asked about Afghanistan by a reporter in the White House East Room during a summit with business leaders on cybersecurity and told a joke when pressed on possibly leaving Americans behind.

“What will you do if Americans are still there after the deadline?” NBC News reporter Peter Alexander asked the commander-in-chief.

Biden smiled and quipped: “You’ll be the first person I call.”

The president’s joshing around outraged Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who said in a Fox News interview that “it incenses me to no end.”

Green, an Afghanistan war veteran, said, “I was in the military, I live by that code now: leave no person behind. The fact that they are so flippant about leaving Americans…. I can’t believe this. There is no excuse for pulling out because the Taliban says we have to be gone by Aug. 31.”