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State Department says it contacts the last Americans left in Afghanistan

State Department says it contacts the last Americans left in Afghanistan

August 30, 2021: -On Thursday, the State Department said that it is in contact with the approximately 1,000 U.S. citizens who are still in Afghanistan and that two-thirds of them are trying to leave the country.

More than 500 Americans have been evacuated in the previous 24 hours, according to a State Department spokesperson requesting anonymity to discuss numbers that are still fluid.

“The U.S. government does not track the movements of Americans when they travel worldwide,” Blinken explained. “There could be other Americans in Afghanistan that never enrolled with the embassy, who ignored public evacuation notices and have not identified themselves,” Blinken added on Wednesday.

“We’ve also found that many people who contact us and identify themselves as American citizens, which include by filling out and submitting repatriation assistance forms, are not, in fact, U.S. citizens, something that can take some time to verify.”

On Thursday, the State Department said that an additional roughly 500 people had reached out “purporting to be Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave” and that U.S. diplomats were trying to reach them.

But the official said the department is skeptical about some of these last-minute claims:

“Based on our experience, many of these will not turn out to be U.S. citizens in need of our assistance,” said the official.

Of the roughly 660 U.S. citizens who have been contacted by the State Department in the last day or two and who are actively trying to leave Afghanistan, “many, if not most, of these individuals are nearly or already out of the country,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is also aware of “dozens more” American citizens “who do not wish to leave Afghanistan for a range of reasons.”

The latest State Department figures underscore one of the most complex pieces of the U.S. withdrawal: hunting down every last American civilian in a country that lacks reliable internet and phone service.

U.S. humanitarian aid workers and Christian missionaries have been active in Afghanistan for 20 years, often working in remote communities far from the major cities.

It was unclear how, precisely, the State Department had tracked down these last remaining 1,000 people. Nor did officials say what would become of those citizens who were unable to make it out of the country before President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline for military withdrawal.

On Thursday, efforts to locate and extract individual U.S. citizens became much more dangerous when a suicide bomb attack killed 12 American service members and wounded 15 more outside the gates of the Kabul airport.

In Afghanistan, a splinter group of ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, killing at least 60 Afghan civilians.