Before his utterly botched Aug. 30 withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, President Biden made a solemn vow: “If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”
Not only did he break that promise, we’re still learning just how badly he failed: Thousands upon thousands remain stranded.
Foreign Policy magazine reports, citing an in-the-know congressional aide, that the State Department believes as many as 14,000 United States legal permanent residents remain in Afghanistan.
Plus, Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon revealed at a Nov. 3 hearing that State knew of 289 US citizens stuck in Afghanistan as of Nov. 2, with a further 81 ready to depart — after 140 Americans had left in the prior week.
That tracks with the 450 US citizens the Pentagon reported still being in the country at October’s end. But it doesn’t track with the lowball numbers that State and the White House have claimed, as National Review’s Jim Geraghty has laid out:
On Aug. 30, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “We believe there are still a small number of Americans — under 200 and likely closer to 100 — who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.”
On Aug. 31, Biden himself said: “Now we believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan with some intention to leave.”
On Sept. 5, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said: “We believe it’s around 100. We’re in touch with all of them.”
And on Sept. 10, State deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said: “100 is the number that we have for US citizens.”
Noted Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) last month: “The administration’s number of US citizens left in Afghanistan keeps changing. . . . It’s very confusing.”
Very confusing indeed.
Blinken says it’s hard to keep a precise count of Americans left because more keep coming forward to get out. So much for Team Biden’s “extensive” planning in advance of the bugout.
And this ignores the tens of thousands of Afghan allies the prez promised to evacuate, whom he instead left to face the wrath of the Taliban.
Biden, in short, vowed to get everyone out while having no clue how many “everyone” was. Like all his other promises and pronouncements, it was just meaningless noise.