A little over half a year ago, President Biden withdrew American forces from Afghanistan. The American withdrawal resulted in complete and utter embarrassment for the United States abroad, as we abandoned our allies in Afghanistan, caused the unnecessary loss of life, and stranded American citizens in a country now controlled by our enemies.
At the time, officials in the Biden administration told the public that just over 100 American citizens were left in Afghanistan. In October 2021, the State Department said that there were 363 Americans stranded under the Taliban. Now, according to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, it appears that the United States government left as many as 9,000 Americans in Afghanistan following America’s August withdrawal.
Despite having information that large groups of Americans continued to leave Afghanistan — without support from the federal government — the Biden administration maintained that only 100-150 Americans remained in Afghanistan who had contacted the United States government and expressed a desire to leave.
The report detailing the updated number of stranded Americans indicates that as late as August 17 — nine days before the Kabul airport bombing that claimed the lives of the 13 service members — the State Department knew that there were between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans in Afghanistan. Between August 17 and August 31, only about 6,000 Americans were able to escape before the Taliban fully took control of the country.
Officials like Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. Central Command leader General Kenneth McKenzie frequently said they were in touch with small numbers of Americans who remained in Afghanistan but sought to leave. Thus, if arrived at in good faith, their estimation would have been calculated using these small sample sizes.
In the report, Sen. James Risch (R–Idaho), the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Despite countless warnings that the Taliban had the ability to take the country swiftly, the Biden Administration failed to properly plan a coordinated evacuation of U.S. citizens, Afghans, and allied partners.”
“The administration waited until less than a day before Kabul fell to make senior leadership decisions on organizing and executing a withdrawal, which proved to be too little too late,” Sen. Risch continued, “While the Department of Defense and Department of State pulled off a major feat in the number of people evacuated, more of our partners could have been saved if proper planning had been conducted.”
Shortly after the American withdrawal was complete, President Biden made a speech in which, among other misleading claims, he said, “The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave were able to leave.”
It just so happens that there are thousands of Americans who were unable to leave, unaccounted for in the remaining 10%. As more information comes to light, it becomes increasingly evident that the Biden administration was not prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The White House rushing the withdrawal process cost many lives and stranded thousands of Americans under enemy rule.