Congressman Darrell Issa (R-California), whose office has been working to evacuate two elderly U.S. citizens from Afghanistan, said that it’s likely there are about 500 Americans remaining in the stranded country, a figure that dwarfs White House estimates.
“Unless we continue and get the rest of our American citizens, and all those otherwise eligible out, we won’t have done our job,” Issa told The Associated Press, confirming the number. When including the family members of American citizens, Issa said the number of people could be as high as 1,000.
Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon (R-Nebraska) added to the news that the Biden administration needs to provide the full number of those left behind in the restive South Asian nation.
“The problem is, it doesn’t include families,” he said. “They’re lowballing the numbers.”
White House chief of staff Ron Klain on Sunday told CNN that he believes around 100 Americans remain inside Afghanistan, while President Joe Biden last week said that about 100 to 200 U.S. citizens remained. The final U.S. military evacuation flight was carried out from the Kabul airport one week ago, officially ending the 20-year-long American involvement in the country.
“We believe it’s around a hundred. We’re in touch with all of them who we’ve identified on a regular basis,” Klain, a top Biden deputy, told CNN. Some U.S. citizens and Afghan nationals, he added, are “coming out” of Afghanistan “by land” travel.
He added that the White House is “continuing to work on efforts to get them out by air as well. We’re going to continue to move those [Special Immigrant Visa holders] out of the country.”
Other than Issa, some veteran-led rescue groups told AP that the estimate that no more than 200 Americans were left behind is too low.
Thanks to our friends at The Epoch Times for contributing to this article.