Testimony Reveals “Several Thousand” Americans Left in Afghanistan

By: Amelia Rose Zimlich | Managing Editor | arz1722@jagmail.southalabama.edu

Photo By: Tim Mossholder via Pexels

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that there are “several thousand” Americans and U.S. green card holders still stranded in Afghanistan during his testimony on Monday. 

In the opening remarks of his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Blinken said that the Biden administration was “intensely focused on the safety of Americans in Afghanistan” throughout the process of orchestrating the withdrawal. Blinken went on to say that the Biden administration has “continued our relentless efforts to help any remaining Americans, as well as Afghans and citizens of Allied and partner nations, leave Afghanistan if they choose.” 

These statements come after the promise Biden made in an interview on Aug. 19 that American troops would remain in Afghanistan until all American citizens could be evacuated. American troops left Afghanistan at 3:29 p.m. EST on Aug. 30, one minute before midnight in Afghanistan time. In a press briefing later that day, General Kenneth McKenzie estimated that the number of American citizens left behind was in the “very low hundreds.” He also said there was “a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”

On Monday, the United States announced $64 million in humanitarian aid would be sent to Afghanistan. The press release said that the U.S. would “continue to help alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people and call on other donors to step up their contributions to help deliver critical assistance directly to the people of Afghanistan.” In his testimony, Blinken denied that the money would go to the Taliban government.

The withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan was a decision by the Biden administration that has been called “clearly and fatally flawed” and “the worst foreign policy catastrophe in a generation” by Republicans and Democrats alike. 

During evacuation efforts on Aug. 26, an attack outside the Kabul airport killed 13 servicemen, 12 of whom were under the age of 25. The widow of Rylee McCollum, one of the military members killed in the attack, gave birth to a baby girl on Monday, according to WGN9. A drone strike by the U.S. military killed a man who was thought to be an Islamic State group militant but was later found to be an employee of the U.S.-based Multi Country Security Solutions Group, an American humanitarian organization. The strike also killed two other adults and seven children.

The takeover of the Afghan government by the Taliban occurred in just 11 days. In a press release on Aug. 18, General Mark Milley said, “There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army, and this government, in 11 days.”