So, What’s the Number?

 

What’s the number of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan and fearing for their lives? The State Department that couldn’t specify a number for two weeks now says that only 250 Americans are left. Not 247, not 252. 250. A rounded number. Secretary Blinkin laid the groundwork a few days ago that many Americans who are left in Afghanistan have dual citizenship and extended family, and so may not want to leave. Other State Department aides conveyed to members of Congress that there could be up to 4,100 Americans in Afghanistan but in the other provinces and provincial capitals and not near Kabul

So, what’s the number, and is the Biden administration attempting to minimize the actual number? And if the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS-K begin parading hundreds or thousands of Americans in front of cameras – demanding ransom beyond the 250 Americans specified what will be the reaction of the news media and the American public? And would Democrats in Congress be forced to remove Biden from office?

From the New York Post on August 17, 2021, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said this (emphasis mine):

We think there are certainly thousands of Americans​. W​e don’t have an exact count, I would say somewhere, best guess between 5,000 and 10,000 that are near Kabul​,” he said in an interview with CNN.

He was also asked what plan the administration had for evacuating the Americans who live in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan now that the Taliban have taken over and are restricting movement and transportation. 

Kirby said the military is focused on ensuring security at the airport so that the evacuation operations can continue — but didn’t want to “set the expectation” that the US had the capacity to retrieve people trapped elsewhere in the country. 

“​I don’t want to set the expectation that we are equipped and able to go out into the countryside and physically move people into Kabul. Our focus right now the troops that we have there are at the airport​,” he said. ​​  

A few paragraphs later in the same article:

But Robert Charles, a former assistant secretary of state in the George W. Bush administration, said there could be as many as 40,000 Americans in Afghanistan. 

“There’s a document in the embassy called the F-77. … I am told the F-77 of Afghanistan indicates there are 15,000, potentially upwards of 40,000 Americans, scattered around Afghanistan right now,” Charles said on Fox News.

“The Taliban has given a two-week grace period for them to get out, but most of them have been told to shelter in place by the State Department,” he said, noting that many of the Americans are in towns and cities outside Kabul where travel is difficult because of the Taliban.”

If Charles is correct and there were upwards of 40,000 Americans and many of them “scattered around Afghanistan” most of whom could not make their way to Kabul because the rest of the country south was controlled by the Taliban, or elements of al Qaeda, or Haqqani Network fighters, or ISIS-K, then the present number of some 250 Americans still left in Afghanistan who need to get out and the remainder who, according to the State Department “want to stay” is a lie and is being put forth only to minimize the PR damage that the Biden administration has already brought upon itself.

If hundreds or thousands of Americans are found, rounded up and brought to Kabul, prior to the Taliban’s and their al Qaeda allies’ anticipated celebration of the attack on September 11th, then the State Department may still attempt to claim that these were Americans who wanted to stay. If they plead in front of microphones and cameras that they were left by Biden and now are afraid of being executed, then it may be difficult for the Biden administration to adhere to that narrative.

This morning, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich on the Fox News website also weighed in on the numbers of Americans who may still be in Afghanistan, spread around the country:

“…we may well have hundreds if not thousands of Americans hiding across Afghanistan, terrified of the Taliban’s barbarism. Remember, the media only reports on Kabul, the Afghan capital, but there are Americans all over the country. And Afghanistan is a big place, full of mountainous areas where people are isolated and tough to reach.”

And this from Dan Bongino two days ago:

Author’s Note: This post was updated to reflect most current information being reported and to provide additional background information.

Published in General
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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Brian Watt: And if the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS-K begin parading hundreds or thousands of Americans in front of cameras – demanding ransom beyond the 350 Americans specified what will be the reaction of the news media

    why beyond the 350?  The WH and the media have already laid the groundwork, that anyone left behind wanted to be left behind.  They were told in ever increasingly strong worded memos that they should leave. Not the admin’s fault. #dealwithit

    Brian Watt: And would Democrats in Congress be forced to remove Biden from office?

    LOL, you been been drinking too many fingers of bourbon tonight.  

    • #1
  2. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    It’s all about political manipulation to cover themselves. They care nothing about anyone but themselves.

    Remind me again why we gave up tar and feathering?

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    It’s all about political manipulation to cover themselves. They care nothing about anyone but themselves.

    Remind me again why we gave up tar and feathering?

    Because the people most likely to get tarred and feathered made it illegal.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    It’s all about political manipulation to cover themselves. They care nothing about anyone but themselves.

    Remind me again why we gave up tar and feathering?

    Because the people most likely to get tarred and feathered made it illegal.

    And they have police protection even when WE DON’T.

    • #4
  5. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    By tomorrow, after all U.S. troops are gone, the W.H. answer will be zero. Greatest airlift since Berlin ( no evacuation).  Greatest evacuation since Dunkirk. Anyone left wanted to stay there and the women are fine with burquas.  So there.  

    • #5
  6. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    In Kabul specifically:

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Brian Watt: And if the Taliban, al Qaeda, and ISIS-K begin parading hundreds or thousands of Americans in front of cameras – demanding ransom

    There would be war again.  And neither side wants that. I’ve been thinking about the word that the press is avoiding – hostages – and how this will play out. My feeling is the US will allow the Afghan Govt access to funds if the Taliban allow people to leave.

    What the Taliban need to sort out, if they can, is which of their factions is going to be dominant – pragmatics or others.  How much open pragmatism will their base allow. And how to deal with IS K and with Al Qaida.

    • #7
  8. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Occam’s razor needs to be stropped.  If the evacuation was planned and carried out in reverse order of what it customary, and nearly a 100 billion dollars of equipment and a functioning military airport were left behind in the hands of the Taliban that it and its friends can use, and the US endorses the Taliban as the new government, and civilians are left behind to be hostages, to be redeemed by cash payments to the Taliban, then this was the intended result.

    Otherwise, we have to rely on layers and layers of ineptitude, irrationality, and mistake after mistake from the intelligence community, and from the military services, and by various departments in the executive administration and the White House, which takes a lot more intellectual bending and twisting and believing in unproveable suppositions and irrational assumptions than merely concluding that they planned for a particular result and achieved it.

    • #8
  9. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Occam’s razor needs to be stropped. If the evacuation was planned and carried out in reverse order of what it customary, and nearly a 100 billion dollars of equipment and a functioning military airport were left behind in the hands of the Taliban that it and its friends can use, and the US endorses the Taliban as the new government, and civilians are left behind to be hostages, to be redeemed by cash payments to the Taliban, then this was the intended result.

    Otherwise, we have to rely on layers and layers of ineptitude, irrationality, and mistake after mistake from the intelligence community, and from the military services, and by various departments in the executive administration and the White House, which takes a lot more intellectual bending and twisting and believing in unproveable suppositions and irrational assumptions than merely concluding that they planned for a particular result and achieved it.

    You are so very right.

    • #9
  10. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    In Kabul specifically:

    Think. Who benefits right now from war and chaos? Who benefits from civil and political strife in America? Who benefits from economic collapse? Historically, what kind of people desire and support such things? And why did they have to do everything they could to get rid of Pres. Trump, who somehow managed to achieve the opposite of so many of these things, and show people globally that it can be done? Who could not stand for that to happen?

    • #10
  11. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    navyjag (View Comment):

    By tomorrow, after all U.S. troops are gone, the W.H. answer will be zero. Greatest airlift since Berlin ( no evacuation). Greatest evacuation since Dunkirk. Anyone left wanted to stay there and the women are fine with burquas. So there.

    Yep, they’ve thrown up enough ‘verbal chaff’ to deflect criticsm for now. We’ll see what our Taliban Partners (gag) do publically with the hostages remaining in country. The humiliation is not over by a long shot.

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    We should be at DEFCON 1.

    We should be watching the U.S. military go to full alert all across the globe, including our National Guard units here.

    We should be trying to take the Kabul airport, not give it up.

    • #12
  13. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    In Kabul specifically:

     

     

    Think. Who benefits right now from war and chaos? Who benefits from civil and political strife in America? Who benefits from economic collapse? Historically, what kind of people desire and support such things? And why did they have to do everything they could to get rid of Pres. Trump, who somehow managed to achieve the opposite of so many of these things, and show people globally that it can be done? Who could not stand for that to happen?

    Your scenario works only if you’re dealing with Czarist Russia or Weimar, Germany but not America in the 21st Century with the level of prosperity this nation has. Biden’s sinking approval numbers don’t reflect that so-called benefit. The optics will get more horrific and the American people will turn their rage on the ruling Democrats. Dems are already facing the loss of the House and possibly the Senate in 2022 and soon the governorship of California. The question is how big will their losses be. That may correlate with scenes of Americans looking as though they’ve been beaten or tortured or lined up for mass execution.

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    In Kabul specifically:

    Think. Who benefits right now from war and chaos? Who benefits from civil and political strife in America? Who benefits from economic collapse? Historically, what kind of people desire and support such things? And why did they have to do everything they could to get rid of Pres. Trump, who somehow managed to achieve the opposite of so many of these things, and show people globally that it can be done? Who could not stand for that to happen?

    Your scenario works only if you’re dealing with Czarist Russia or Weimar, Germany but not America in the 21st Century with the level of prosperity this nation has. Biden’s sinking approval numbers don’t reflect that so-called benefit. The optics will get more horrific and the American people will turn their rage on the ruling Democrats. Dems are already facing the loss of the House and possibly the Senate in 2022 and soon the governorship of California. The question is how big will their losses be. That may correlate with scenes of Americans looking as though they’ve been beaten or tortured or lined up for mass execution.

    The year 2022 seems so far into the future given the pace at which the Taliban and their terrorist friends are advancing. Our military can’t fix this without killing our own citizens.

    That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if Biden did just that a week or month from now without a shred of remorse. You’ll never know the truth–how many American citizens he left behind that the Taliban was using as human shields and Biden bombed them anyway. So Biden leaves them trapped behind enemy lines and then he bombs those locations in some sort of stupid show of power, power he should have used six months ago to strengthen our position. Goodness, what a PR victory: he gets to kill the Americans who might have spoken against him and look like he’s done something to strike back at the Taliban (ISIS 2s–which makes the whole thing Trump’s fault in his statements).

    Biden has allowed us unnecessarily to be backed into a corner from which there is no good way out.

     

    • #14
  15. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Numbers are so judgmental, you know? Democrats only make judgements, not receive them.

    Their intentions were good. The best! The best intentions. A road made of their good intentions will take us all to where they have us going.

    • #15
  16. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    It depends on what the definition of “list” is.

    Blinken Claims US Never Gave Taliban Lists Of Names, Then Details Names US Gave The Taliban

    Story here.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    It depends on what the definition of “list” is.

    Blinken Claims US Never Gave Taliban Lists Of Names, Then Details Names US Gave The Taliban

    Story here.

    Blinken can’t hold the con. Apparently, he can’t even remember the con.

    • #17
  18. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    In Kabul specifically:

    Think. Who benefits right now from war and chaos? Who benefits from civil and political strife in America? Who benefits from economic collapse? Historically, what kind of people desire and support such things? And why did they have to do everything they could to get rid of Pres. Trump, who somehow managed to achieve the opposite of so many of these things, and show people globally that it can be done? Who could not stand for that to happen?

    LC’s most recent post

    A Day in the Lives of Monsieur et Madame Mak Sean

    gives a strong and disturbing vision of the who and the why.  Who?  Those who will drown you without compunction.  The Why? For the greater good.

    • #18
  19. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    On Tuesday, August 24th, the Daily Caller reported that up to 8,000 Americans may still remain in Afghanistan.

    Two days later on Thursday, August 26th, a suicide bomber attacked the Abbey Gate at the Karzai airport effectively shutting the evacuation effort down for at least a day.. 

    On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (today), the airport has been intermittently closed, with more warnings of terrorist threats and at least one or more messages from the State Dept. not to go to the airport because it was not safe.

    So, the question is, if the 8,000 number was accurate last Tuesday, did some 7,700 Americans get evacuated on Wednesday and then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, leaving only about 300 more to evacuate?

    • #19
  20. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Pentagon spokes-general this morning (Monday, August 30th) claimed that 5,400 Americans had been evacuated from Kabul since evacuations began in July. Again, a rounded number. Not an exact number. When pressed for an exact number on the most recent flights out of Karzai International Airport, the spokes-general replied he didn’t have actual manifests of the passengers taken out but only that “most of them were Afghans.”

    How many “most”? Who can say? And why should anyone care? Is it really that important whether thousands of Americans are captured, tortured, paraded in front of cameras, held for ransom, or summarily executed? Get on with your life. Move along. What are you? A right-wing conspiracy nut, or something?

    Depending on what number has been previously articulated, whether 40,000 or 15,000 or 11,000 or  8,000, it seems highly likely that there are thousands of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan without a way to leave. And this is somehow acceptable to Joe Biden and his administration. Most of the news networks don’t seem to be challenging the administration on the numbers of Americans left behind. They are content to go with the Biden administration narrative.

    • #20
  21. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Pentagon spokes-general this morning (Monday, August 30th) claimed that 5,400 Americans had been evacuated from Kabul since evacuations began in July. Again, a rounded number. Not an exact number. When pressed for an exact number on the most recent flights out of Karzai International Airport, the spokes-general replied he didn’t have actual manifests of the passengers taken out but only that “most of them were Afghans.”

    How many “most”? Who can say? And why should anyone care? Is it really that important whether thousands of Americans are captured, tortured, paraded in front of cameras, held for ransom, or summarily executed? Get on with your life. Move along. What are you? A right-wing conspiracy nut, or something?

    Depending on what number has been previously articulated, whether 40,000 or 15,000 or 11,000 or 8,000, it seems highly likely that there are thousands of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan without a way to leave. And this is somehow acceptable to Joe Biden and his administration. Most of the news networks don’t seem to be challenging the administration on the numbers of Americans left behind. They are content to go with the Biden administration narrative.

    This from the very same people who have been scolding us about our indifference to the Rwanda genocide–Susan Rice got her stars for writing a book about that. Scolding us about Gaza and the West Bank. The same people who want more and more money to pay for their utterly failed UN “displaced persons” camps all over the world. Who want us to do more for the refugees in Sudan. I could go on and on here. “Take in the refugees from Haiti and the rest of Central and South America.”

    They are creating a refugee problem–and that’s a good outcome. Instead, I expect a report of genocide coming out of the Human Rights Organization six months from now.

    This is a disaster. I hope the borders are open to the countries surrounding Afghanistan. Has the State Department checked on that? All I’ve seen on their “alerts” are “Don’t attempt to come to Kabul airport or Bagram. You won’t be let in.” They give no advice as to what to do instead.

    Clearly they have information that a suicide bomber strike is imminent. The Taliban wanted Biden to have to leave earlier than the 31st so it will be on their terms, not ours. Humiliate and disgrace the United States. That’s their objective. They have succeeded. No matter when we have said we were leaving, they have moved up the date. This is so Nazi-like in the years before the Allies got into World War II.

    I’m so angry.

    • #21
  22. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Brian Watt (View Comment):

    Pentagon spokes-general this morning (Monday, August 30th) claimed that 5,400 Americans had been evacuated from Kabul since evacuations began in July. Again, a rounded number. Not an exact number. When pressed for an exact number on the most recent flights out of Karzai International Airport, the spokes-general replied he didn’t have actual manifests of the passengers taken out but only that “most of them were Afghans.”

    How many “most”? Who can say? And why should anyone care? Is it really that important whether thousands of Americans are captured, tortured, paraded in front of cameras, held for ransom, or summarily executed? Get on with your life. Move along. What are you? A right-wing conspiracy nut, or something?

    Depending on what number has been previously articulated, whether 40,000 or 15,000 or 11,000 or 8,000, it seems highly likely that there are thousands of Americans still stranded in Afghanistan without a way to leave. And this is somehow acceptable to Joe Biden and his administration. Most of the news networks don’t seem to be challenging the administration on the numbers of Americans left behind. They are content to go with the Biden administration narrative.

    This from the very same people who have been scolding us about our indifference to the Rwanda genocide–Susan Rice got her stars for writing a book about that. Scolding us about Gaza and the West Bank. The same people who want more and more money to pay for their utterly failed UN “displaced persons” camps all over the world. Who want us to do more for the refugees in Sudan. I could go on and on here. “Take in the refugees from Haiti and the rest of Central and South America.”

    They are creating a refugee problem–and that’s a good outcome. Instead, I expect a report of genocide coming out of the Human Rights Organization six months from now.

    This is a disaster. I hope the borders are open to the countries surrounding Afghanistan. Has the State Department checked on that? All I’ve seen on their “alerts” are “Don’t attempt to come to Kabul airport or Bagram. You won’t be let in.” They give no advice as to what to do instead.

    Clearly they have information that a suicide bomber strike is imminent. The Taliban wanted Biden to have to leave earlier than the 31st so it will be on their terms, not ours. Humiliate and disgrace the United States. That’s their objective. They have succeeded. No matter when we have said we were leaving, they have moved up the date. This is so Nazi-like in the years before the Allies got into World War II.

    I’m so angry.

    There was a report that the Pakistan military has fired upon Afghan refugees attempting to cross the border into Pakistan. Story here.

    • #22
  23. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I’ve been thinking about the word that the press is avoiding – hostages – and how this will play out.

    Amen, brother.

    • #23
  24. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    The optics will get more horrific and the American people will turn their rage on the ruling Democrats.

    Naw.  They’ll be stampeded into blaming Trump, and the rest will be cowed into not disagreeing with that.

    • #24
  25. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Brian Watt (View Comment):
    There was a report that the Pakistan military has fired upon Afghan refugees attempting to cross the border into Pakistan. Story here.

    At least somebody knows how to defend a border.

    • #25
  26. KevinKrisher Coolidge
    KevinKrisher
    @KevinKrisher

    I am sick to death of people who want to “adhere” to “narratives.”

    I earnestly pray for people who want to tell the truth.

    • #26
  27. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Nobody will resign. Nobody will be fired.

    • #27
  28. KevinKrisher Coolidge
    KevinKrisher
    @KevinKrisher

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Humiliate and disgrace the United States. That’s their objective. They have succeeded.

    But they have not yet finished. I shudder to think of what we will see a week from Saturday.

    • #28
  29. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Clearly they have information that a suicide bomber strike is imminent.

    It’s Afghanistan.  A suicide bomber strike is always imminent.

    • #29
  30. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Humiliate and disgrace the United States. That’s their objective. They have succeeded

    You’re referring to the Biden administration, right? The “they”?

    • #30