There are still at least 363 American citizens remaining in Afghanistan, about half of whom want to leave the country, the State Department reportedly told congressional staff Thursday.
One hundred and seventy-six of those citizens are trying to get out of the country, two sources said according to CNN. When the U.S. military completed its evacuation from Kabul, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there was a “small number” of Americans still trying to leave, totaling less than 200 and “likely closer to 100.”
The State Department told the Daily Caller Thursday that “at least 129 U.S. citizens” have been helped out of the country by the department since the U.S. completed it’s military withdrawal, suggesting Blinken’s estimate of “closer to 100” was substantially undercounting the number of Americans trying to leave.
In addition to the American citizens in the country, thousands of Afghan civilians who assisted the U.S. war effort since 2001 remain in the country after President Joe Biden assured them the U.S. would aid in their departure.
Fox News reports as well that a number of Republicans are blasting the administration after the admission.
“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 of California told Fox News. “So they lied about it from the beginning.”
Issa’s response was shared by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., “who accused the administration of having shamelessly and repeatedly lied about the number of Americans trapped behind Taliban lines,” Fox News reported.
“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.
A congressional staffer who was on a phone call with State Dept. officials who discussed the larger number, which was first reported by CNN, said it’s likely that there are more Americans and legal residents trapped in Afghanistan but are too frightened to reveal themselves.
“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?” they said.