The evacuation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover will end in a couple of days but at least 1,500 Americans are still stuck in the troubled country. Around a third of the number is in contact with the U.S. government as they hope to leave in the following days.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday that although 1,500 Americans are estimated to still be in Afghanistan, 1,000 of them had not responded to several emails, phone calls, or messages about the evacuation. This number does not include legal permanent American residents or green card holders, according to the New York Times.
Around 4,500 United States citizens have been flown out of Afghanistan since the evacuation operations began on Aug. 14. The State Department sent more than 20,000 e-mails and made more than 45,000 phone calls to identify and locate American citizens in Afghanistan. These efforts were made ahead of the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 per the demand of the Taliban.
It is unclear when the evacuation operations would stop as Blinken said that the effort would continue every day despite the withdrawal on Aug. 31. Blinken and the Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, were instructed by President Joe Biden to come up with plans to push back the date if necessary.
In the past 24 hours, 19,200 people were flown out of Kabul by the United States and allied planes. People included in the latest evacuation efforts are American citizens and Afghans who worked for the United States for more than two decades.
The total number of evacuees is about 82,300 since the government of Afghanistan fell to Taliban forces. This was apparently made possible because the officials in the United States were in regular touch with their Taliban counterparts to ensure the safe passage of Americans and Afghan allies who have proper credentials.
Amid the developing situation in Afghanistan, thousands of Afghans remain hopeful that the U.S. military can airlift them as experts believe many of them will be targeted by the Taliban if they stay. This includes Afghan security forces, government officials, defenders of democracy, women’s rights advocates, and the like. It is unclear if they can be evacuated by the Aug. 31 deadline.