The State Department said Sunday roughly 250 Americans still are still in Afghanistan and trying to leave with two days remaining until the Biden administration’s deadline to withdraw troops from the region.
A State Department spokesperson said some of the Americans may already be at the Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul or “in the process of being guided there,” and that officials on the ground are providing “assistance around the clock.”
Nearly 5,500 Americans have been evacuated from the country since August 14, including 50 on Saturday, the spokesperson said, adding that another 280 self-identified Americans are “undecided” about leaving or “do not intend to depart.”
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a CNN interview that was taped Saturday and aired Sunday the U.S. has “substantial leverage” to hold the Taliban to its commitment to provide safe passage to the airport.
Sullivan warned it’s an “exceedingly dangerous moment” in Afghanistan, and that, while the U.S. is doing everything in its power to prevent and disrupt threats, “all we can do is mitigate.”
1,000. That’s how many Americans were still in Afghanistan as of last Thursday, two thirds of whom were taking steps to leave the country, the State Department said at the time.
Some Americans are opting to remain in Afghanistan even after the Taliban takeover of the country, according to the State Department. A spokesperson for the department said Thursday “dozens” of Americans have informed officials they “do not wish to leave Afghanistan” for a “range of reasons.”
Some House Democrats have floated the idea of Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken resigning over the chaos in Afghanistan to mitigate political damage, according to the Washington Post. Public calls for Biden and other officials to resign have become widespread among Republicans in Congress.
What To Watch For
Biden warned in a statement on Saturday that an attack on the airport was “highly likely in the next 24-36 hours.” U.S. Central Command spokesperson Bill Urban said Sunday a U.S. airstrike eliminated an “imminent ISIS-K threat” to the airport.