More than 100 American citizens remain in Afghanistan after the Biden administration completed its military withdrawal from the country, the White House confirmed on Thursday, Sept. 2.
During a daily news conference, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the number of American citizens still in Afghanistan after the Aug. 31 full exit deadline is “closer to 100” than 200, as some believe.
Psaki said that the administration officials are in “close touch” with those people and working to evacuate them from the country now ruled by the Taliban, Fox News reported.
“We are in close touch with the State Department, our diplomatic officials, with all of these individuals and are working in close coordination to discuss how they can leave the country, and if they can leave the country,” she said.
The secretary also admitted that there are “active” threats from ISIS-K, an affiliate of the Islamic State in Afghanistan that conducted a bombing attack in late August, killing 13 U.S. service members outside Kabul airport.
“There are active, continue to be active, ISIS-K threats,” she said, adding that there is “concern” about potential charter flights which aid those Americans because ISIS has a “keen interest” in aviation targets.
Those American citizens, including a group of students and parents from California, were stranded in Afghanistan when President Joe Biden tried to keep the pullout deadline in place. However, some U.S. lawmakers argued that the deadline could be extended and that his administration should not allow the Taliban to dictate U.S. foreign policy.
But Biden defended his decision on the U.S. withdrawal, hailing the operation as an “extraordinary success.”
“No nation has ever done anything like it in all of history; only the United States had the capacity and the will and ability to do it,” Biden said during an address to the nation on Tuesday.