State Department: Americans Still Being Evacuated from Afghanistan

By Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.
December 14, 2021 Updated: December 14, 2021

The evacuation of American citizens from Afghanistan continues months after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, according to a State Department release Monday.

At the end of 20 years of war in Afghanistan that cost more than 172,000 lives, the U.S. troop withdrawal leading up to Aug. 31 was followed shortly by the collapse of the Afghan government and the takeover of the country by the Taliban.

Months later, the U.S. Government continues efforts to relocate and resettle U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and Afghan allies.

“There is no deadline for this work,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Aug. 25.

Since Aug. 31, the United States has assisted 479 American citizens and 450 permanent residents and their families to depart Afghanistan and relocate to the United States.

The State Department says it is in touch with “fewer than a dozen” Americans who are still in Afghanistan, want to leave, are prepared to depart, and have the necessary travel documents.

On Aug. 30, Blinken said there was believed to be “under 200 [U.S. citizens], and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.”

The Biden administration has provided funding to resettle up to 95,000 Afghan nationals in the United States. About 74,000 have been resettled already.

More than 40 percent of the Afghans who come to the United States qualify for Special Immigration Visas for their assistance to the U.S. government.

The State Department has issued more than 8,200 Special Immigrant Visas since January 20 and continues to process SIV applications daily.

The Department of Homeland Security is leading efforts to screen and vet Afghans prior to their arrival in the United States.

Senate Republicans released a memo last month alleging that only a small percentage of Afghanistan evacuees who had come to the United States since the Aug. 31 withdrawal have been vetted in addition to being screened.

The U.N.’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan said in November the country is “on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.”

Nick Ciolino
Nick Ciolino covers the White House.