State Dept: We know of 363 American citizens still abandoned in Afghanistan

Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP

Say, wasn’t that number “around 100” two months ago? Even as late as Monday’s press briefing, State Department spokesperson Ned Price gave a range that was considerably lower than what State communicated yesterday to members of Congress:

Bear in mind that the 363 citizens are separate from those already exfiltrated. That puts the original estimates of “around 100” off by 400%. Even the number of those who “want to leave” but remain stuck don’t add up to State’s initial estimates. Note too that State is still not being clear about how many LPRs are still stuck in Afghanistan, even while they take credit for exfiltrating 131 LPRs … likely accomplished by others anyway.

Price obfuscated both points in Monday’s briefing:

In terms of a number of American citizens, this is a figure that, as you know, is not static. It is not immutable precisely because as Americans in the country – some of whom may be identifying themselves to us for the first time – see that we are able to effect the safe departure of Americans and LPRs and others from Afghanistan, that their calculus has changed. They have determined that they do with to depart the country. That range has been anywhere from below a 100 – right now it is somewhere in between 100 and 200 given that some Americans have – additional Americans have raised their hands, seeing our ability to effect their safe departure.

Even the “wants to leave” claim is an obfuscation. The Americans who aren’t ready to leave are mostly those being held back by their relatives’ non-visa status with the State Department. They won’t leave family members behind, but the State Department is making it sound as though they are staying by choice. It’s absurd, and it’s a disgrace.

So what is the real number of Americans — citizens and LPRs — abandoned by Biden to the Taliban? We’ll probably never know the real number, but it’s clearly in the thousands, and perhaps even higher than that when you count their families. Perhaps the media might want to start asking those questions before they end up missing altogether.