Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
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. We 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