(USA Features) Former President Donald Trump took his predecessor, Joe Biden, to task Tuesday after he said he learned that the administration has evacuated thousands more Afghan citizens from Kabul than Americans.
“Biden surrendered Afghanistan to terrorists and left thousands of Americans for dead by pulling out the Military before our citizens,” Trump wrote in a statement from his Save America PAC.
“Now we are learning that out of the 26,000 people who have been evacuated, only 4,000 are Americans,” he added.
“You can be sure the Taliban, who are now in complete control, didn’t allow the best and brightest to board these evacuation flights,” he continued.
“Instead, we can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world,” the former president added.
“What a terrible failure. NO VETTING. How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to America? We don’t know!”
Trump may have been quoting Politico’s national security correspondent Alex Ward, who tweeted the numbers out based on a “leaked” State Dept. document.
NEW: Leaked State cable with evacuation numbers (as of Aug 23 at 1500 ET):
Total manifested since midnight Kabul AUG 23: 483 AMCITS, 6,425 Afghans natls, 8 3rd country/unknown. Total = 6,916
Total manifested since op began: 4,407 AMCITS, 21,533 Afghans, 642 TCNs. Total = 26,582
— Alex Ward (@alexbward) August 24, 2021
The figure citing American citizens — around 4,000 — was corroborated in a second tweet from Washington Post reporter Olivier Knox.
Am told the Biden Administration, on noon (eastern) briefing call for lawmakers, estimated that 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan.
— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) August 23, 2021
“Am told the Biden Administration, on noon (eastern) briefing call for lawmakers, estimated that 4,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan,” Knox wrote Monday afternoon.
Thousands more people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since, according to reports.
“Trump’s remarks come amid reports that the US Department of Homeland Security and the State Department is admitting an untold number of unvetted Afghan refugees into the United States,” a report by Conservative Brief stated.
Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, deputy director for Regional Operations and Force Management of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the government is working diligently to vet all Afghan refugees and evacuees.
“Intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals are conducting screening and security vetting for all SIV applicants and other vulnerable Afghans before they are allowed into the U.S.,” he said.
Still, some U.S. lawmakers are projecting that the administration won’t be able to get all Americans out by the Aug. 31 deadline, which the Taliban have refused to extend.
That is “possible” but “very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV’s, the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday.
“I am encouraged to see the numbers of people evacuated, increasing readily to the point where we evacuated 11,000 people in a single day,” Schiff added. “
Nonetheless, given the logistical difficulties of moving people to the airport and the limited number of workarounds, it’s hard for me to see that being fully complete by the end of the month.
“And I’m certainly of the view that we maintain a military presence as long as it’s necessary to get all U.S. persons out and to meet our moral and ethical obligation to our Afghan partners,” he said.