About 300 US citizens still seeking evacuation from Afghanistan ahead of Tuesday deadline

Sec. of State Antony Blinken
Posted at 9:15 AM, Aug 30, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that there are about 300 American citizens still seeking to leave Afghanistan as the deadline for final evacuations from the country is quickly approaching.

Blinken told ABC News on Sunday that the U.S. is "actively working to help them get to the airport, get on a plane and get out of Afghanistan."

According to the Associated Press, Blinken has also confirmed that the U.S. has the capacity to evacuate those Americans ahead of the deadline but noted that the airport could face another attack in the coming hours.

"This is the most dangerous time in an already extraordinarily dangerous mission these last couple of days," Blinken said, according to the AP.

The AP also reports that national security adviser Jake Sullivan has further confirmed that the U.S. should be able to evacuate those remaining.

"We have the capacity to have 300 Americans, which is roughly the number we think are remaining, come to the airport and get on planes in the time that is remaining," Sullivan said. "We moved out more than that number just (Saturday). So from our point of view, there is an opportunity right now for American citizens to come, to be admitted to the airport and to be evacuated safely and effectively."

Asked Monday at the White House press briefing if she had an update on the exact number of Americans still seeking evacuation from Afghanistan, Psaki confirmed there were still some remaining but she could not provide a specific number.

"We believe there is still a small number...we're still trying to determine that number," she said.

Blinken will deliver remarks Monday afternoon and likely provide an update on how many Americans remain ahead of the deadline.

President Joe Biden has promised to evacuate all American citizens who wish to leave Afghanistan ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline and has opted not to keep troops in the country beyond that day, citing the potential for threats from both the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

On Thursday, 13 military members and 169 Afghans were killed by a suicide bomber who targeted a large crowd near one of the gates at the crowded Kabul airport. Early Monday morning, the airport was apparently the target of a series of rocket strikes, which landed in a nearby neighborhood.