Following a hasty U.S. troop withdrawal and the subsequent uprising of the Taliban, reports indicate that thousands of Americans and allies are left stranded in Afghanistan with no promise that they will be granted a safe evacuation.
President Joe Biden has received widespread criticism for his handling of the situation. Now, the president has made a dubious guarantee that his administration would provide an estimated 15,000 Americans an opportunity to exit the war-torn nation, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“How many Americans citizens”
According to the Associated Press, some 4,500 U.S. troops have been guarding the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. A desperate bid to evacuate as many individuals as possible has been underway there since Sunday, though the White House’s messaging on the crisis has not been encouraging.
The president revealed to ABC News that the number could be as high as 15,000 and later admitted that his administration is attempting “to get a strong number as to exactly how many people there are, how many American citizens and where they are.”
As the continuing crisis unfolds, Biden has provided a few lukewarm promises to those trapped behind enemy lines, including his assurance that Taliban militants have been cooperative with U.S. efforts to evacuate Americans.
“The final outcome”
During a press conference on Friday, he perpetuated the apparently misleading guarantee that all Americans who want to leave can safely reach the airport.
“To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports,” the president said, according to the Journal.
When the Pentagon briefed lawmakers on the matter, however, officials indicated that Americans had been beaten by Taliban fighters.
Pleading for patience, Biden called the current evacuation effort “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history,” as the Journal reported.
His assessment of the situation included an acknowledgment that he “cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss,” which likely comes as cold comfort to those stuck in Afghanistan and their loved ones around the world.