The Biden administration has been accused of “the worst ever betrayal of American citizens in a foreign land.”
By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News
Some 176 Americans are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, the State Department has admitted. The figure indicates that the State Department vastly underestimated how many Americans were in the country and wanted to get out when U.S. troops departed in August.
Congressional staff were told Thursday on a conference call that the State Department is currently in touch with 363 American citizens in the Middle Eastern country, of which 176 are hoping to leave, according to CNN.
At a press briefing Friday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that the State Department has evacuated 234 citizens and 144 lawful permanent residents since the August 31 withdrawal date. This figure does not include citizens who have managed to depart the country on private charter planes, facilitated by senators and other concerned citizens.
Consequently, the total figure of Americans who were left behind in Afghanistan is far higher than the number given by the Biden administration on the deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops.
At the time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the State Department was tracking “a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.”
Republican congressmen and staffers have slammed the Biden administration, accusing it of the “betrayal” of Americans abroad.
“What we long suspected is now confirmed: what the White House calls a historically successful airlift was in reality the worst ever betrayal of American citizens in a foreign land,” Rep. Darrell Issa told Fox News. “So they lied about it from the beginning.”
Sen. Ben Sasse agreed. “For weeks, their official number was ‘about a hundred’ and it magically never changed — as Americans slowly got out the total number never went down,” he said.
At the press briefing, Price again stated that the number of American in Afghanistan looking to leave “is between approximately 100 to 200. That figure has risen in recent days as more Americans in Afghanistan have decided to depart in light of our successful facilitation of dozens of departures in recent weeks.”
He added: “We’ve also consistently said there’s a slightly larger universe of Americans with whom we’re in touch, and who are not yet ready for whatever reason to leave. We are continuing to be in touch with them. If their plans do change, we will be glad to help facilitate their departure from Afghanistan should they choose to leave.”
But a staffer who was on the State Department call on Thursday said that wasn’t good enough.
“What about the people they’re not in touch with?” the staffer told Fox News. “Those who are scared to speak out, how do you put a number on that, or that are scared to use WhatsApp or text a +1 American number, or to even text in English?”
The situation in Afghanistan made the staffer feel as though the Biden administration “has broken a social contract between America and its citizens,” they said, explaining: “When I go overseas there’s never a question in my mind that if something happened that blue passport would get me out of trouble – I have doubts about that now.”