(USA Features) Rep. Michael McCaul said Wednesday that the number of Americans who remain stranded in Afghanistan is higher than what President Joe Biden and his administration have said and that he doesn’t see any way to get them all out before next Tuesday’s withdrawal deadline.
In an interview with CNN, the Texas Republican and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the State Department’s figures on the number of Americans remaining in the country are not accurate.
What’s more, there isn’t enough time left to get them and the many Afghanis who helped Americans throughout the 20-year conflict out of the country before the Taliban say they won’t allow anyone else to leave after Aug. 31.
He also said he believes the Afghanis who assisted American troops and personnel will continue to be targeted by the Taliban for execution.
“I don’t see how, in six days, we can get out what I think is a higher number of American citizens, not to mention the Afghan interpreters who have been left behind,” he told CNN’s “Situation Room.”
“And we promised them we would get them out of there. And now, they’re in the bullseye of the Taliban, and they will be executed,” he added.
“We’re already getting reports of Afghan interpreters trying to get to the airport” in Kabul where American troops have been working feverishly to evacuate as many people as possible, McCaul said, “being taken back to their homes where they witnessed their own family being executed.
“And then they are beheaded themselves,” the Texas lawmaker added.
“This is a horrific nightmare taking place,” McCaul continued, noting that it’s also going to take all of the remaining six days just to get the 6,000 U.S. troops Biden dispatched back into the country last week as the Taliban advanced on Kabul and Afghanis rushed to get aboard any outbound flight including U.S. planes ferrying diplomats out of the country.
“So you’re really only talking about a couple of days left” to get out Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients and others, McCaul told host Wolf Blitzer.
“This is all based on the hope that once we pull out on August 31, that the Taliban will keep that airport open to air flights to the United States and our allies to get the remaining people out of there,” McCaul said.
“Maybe with American citizens, possibly, [but] I doubt it. With respect to the Afghan interpreters, I think we just shut the door on them,” McCaul said.
In response, Blitzer cited a New York Times report which quoted a Taliban spokesman who said that revenge killings were not taking place but McCaul pushed back and called that propaganda.
He repeated his earlier claim that his committee had received the report of the execution of the former Afghan interpreter and his family, adding “there are many more” incidents.
Biden has come under increasingly under fire for his handling of the chaotic withdrawal, especially the distinct likelihood that perhaps hundreds or thousands of Americans will be left behind.