State Department Says 250 Americans are Still Trying to Leave Afghanistan

The US said it received 'assurances' from the Taliban that people will be able to leave Afghanistan after the withdrawal

The State Department said Sunday that there are about 250 Americans remaining in Afghanistan who are trying to leave as the August 31st withdrawal deadline is approaching.

According to The Hill, a State Department spokesperson said some of the 250 Americans could already be at the airport or on their way. The spokesperson said that there are another 280 US citizens who said they are staying in Afghanistan or are undecided. Since the airlift started on August 14th, about 5,500 Americans have been evacuated.

US officials seem confident that any remaining Americans who want to leave will be able to even after the US military completes its withdrawal. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday that he believes there is “still an opportunity” for US citizens to reach the airport.

“We believe there‚Äôs still an opportunity for American citizens to jump to the airport, get on planes and get home,” Sullivan told CNN. He said the US has “substantial leverage” over the Taliban to ensure safe passage for Americans.

The US, Britain, and several other countries released a joint statement that said the Taliban has agreed to allow all foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with the proper documents to leave Afghanistan after August 31st.

“We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country,” the statement said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday that it is “not likely” the US would have an “on-the-ground diplomatic presence” in Afghanistan come September. But Blinken said the US would still work to help people who wanted to leave the country. “We have mechanisms to help facilitate the ongoing departure of people from Afghanistan if they choose to leave,” he said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.