“If we are not in touch with this individual, give me their contact information and we will get in touch with them,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington. “If any of you are hearing from American citizens who can’t reach us, give me their contact information and we will get in contact with them.”
Multiple Americans have told news outlets that they are stranded in Afghanistan and have been unable to reach the U.S.-held airport in Kabul, which is surrounded by Taliban checkpoints.
“We are stranded at home,” an American who used the moniker “Fatima” said on “Fox & Friends.”
“We can’t get to the airport. When we try to get to the airport, we either get beaten up or we are afraid for our lives. For four days—three, four days—we didn’t hear anything from anywhere. And then they’re saying to go to the airport, but we’re not being given clear guidance. They are saying one thing and the next day they come and say something else. So you really exactly don’t know what to do. There is a lot of miscommunication going on. You know, your emails are getting ignored,” she added.
Psaki claimed on Monday that it was “irresponsible to say Americans are stranded” in Afghanistan, adding, “they are not.”
Pressed on those remarks on Tuesday, she told reporters to pass on contact information of any Americans stuck in Afghanistan to her.
“I would welcome you providing their phone number and we will reach out today,” she told a Fox News reporter regarding “Fatima” specifically.
The administration began telling Americans in Afghanistan to leave months ago, and have texted and emailed all who remain in the country multiple times in recent days.
U.S. troops are rarely venturing outside the airport, forcing Americans and Afghans who want to flee the country before the looming U.S. withdrawal to brave terrorists and others.
There have been beatings of Americans and Afghans by the group, Pentagon officials confirmed over the weekend.
Still, the Biden administration has continued asserting that any American who wants to leave will be flown out by the Aug. 31 deadline. And the president told fellow Group of Seven leaders that during a meeting earlier Friday, though he left the option of an extension open and directed officials to drew up contingency plans.
More than 4,000 American citizens and their families have been evacuated since Aug. 14, the administration said Tuesday. That’s the first concrete update in several days, after Pentagon press secretary John Kirby repeatedly insisted on keeping the description at “several thousand.”
The Americans are a small subset of the nearly 59,000 who have been evacuated. Most are Afghans who are receiving or have applied for Special Immigrant Visas or other visas.
Biden was supposed to talk at noon ET but his remarks were pushed back to 4:30 p.m., after Psaki’s briefing.