Up to 1,500 Americans remain in Afghanistan after some 4,500 have been evacuated, a top U.S. official said Wednesday.
Evacuation efforts launched on Aug. 14, after the Taliban terrorist group took over the country. On that date, there were as many as 6,000 Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave the country, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Washington.
Since then, roughly 4,500 U.S. passport holders have been evacuated, along with immediate family members.
Over the past 24 hours, U.S. officials have been in direct contact with approximately 500 other Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the U.S.-held airport in Kabul safely.
For the remaining 1,000 or so Americans, officials are “aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day through multiple channels of communication—phone, email, text message—to determine if they still want to leave and to get the most up to date information and instructions to them for how to do so,” Blinken said.
The State Department told The Epoch Times last week that it estimated between 5,000 and 10,000 Americans were in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden said Aug. 19 that there could be as many as 15,000.
Some Americans who reported entering the country may have left without telling American officials, while others may not actually be U.S. citizens, according to Blinken.
Still others may have changed their minds about wanting to leave, including dual nationals.
“They may even change their mind from one day to the next, as has happened and as will likely continue to happen,” Blinken said, noting that some Americans are “understandably very scared” about the situation in the war-torn country.
Taliban fighters are manning checkpoints around the airport and preventing some people from getting through, including beating some Americans, U.S. military officials have confirmed.
Additionally, U.S. officials have increasingly warned about activity from ISIS-K, an affiliate of the ISIS terrorist group, in Kabul.