Afghan passengers are pictured in-front of a Qatar Airways airplane at Kabul International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan September 19, 2021.
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affa | via Reuters
WASHINGTON – A commercial flight carrying 21 Americans and 48 lawful permanent U.S. residents departed Kabul, Afghanistan over the weekend, the State Department confirmed on Monday.
In total, at least 85 American citizens and 79 lawful permanent residents have left Afghanistan since the U.S. ended a massive humanitarian evacuation and completed the withdrawal of its troops in August, according to State Department figures.
“We are thankful to Qatari authorities, who continue to coordinate these flights with the Taliban,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday. The Biden administration is still working to help American citizens, lawful permanent residents and vulnerable Afghans leave, Price added.
The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan last month prompted a chaotic effort by the U.S. and its allies to get their citizens and vulnerable Afghans out of the country. By Aug. 31, approximately 125,000 people, including about 6,000 U.S. citizens and their families, were evacuated out of the country.
However, not everyone was able to make it out in time. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers last week that approximately 100 U.S. citizens are still seeking evacuation from Afghanistan.
Blinken blamed the Trump administration for America’s chaotic exit from its longest war saying: “We inherited a deadline; we did not inherit a plan.”
“There had not been a single interview in the Special Immigrant Visa program in Kabul for nine months, going back to March of 2020. The program was basically in a stall,” Blinken said on Sept. 13.
“We made the right decision in ending America’s longest war, we made the right decision in not sending a third generation of Americans to fight and die in Afghanistan,” Blinken said.
President Joe Biden has defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, despite the Taliban takeover. Biden was forced to order the temporary deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to Kabul in order to help with evacuation efforts last month.
Thirteen U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans died in an ISIS-K suicide bombing at Kabul’s airport during the evacuation. A subsequent U.S. drone strike in Kabul killed as many as 10 civilians in what the Pentagon has described as a tragic mistake.