- Title: Blinken says likely less than 1,000 U.S. citizens still in Afghanistan
- Date: 25th August 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (AUGUST 25, 2021) (STATE TV) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN ARRIVING FOR BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "Since August 14th, more than 82,300 have been safely flown out of Kabul. In the 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday, approximately 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 U.S. military and coalition flights. Speaker 1: Only the United States could organize and execute a mission of this scale in this complexity. REPORTER AT BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "Now, many of you have asked how many U.S. citizens remain in Afghanistan who want to leave the country. Based on our analysis, starting on August 14, when our evacuation operations began, there was then a population of as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave. Over the last 10 days, roughly 4500 of these Americans had been safely evacuated, along with immediate family members. Over the past 24 hours, we've been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely. We'll update you regularly on our progress in getting these 500 American citizens out of Afghanistan. For the remaining roughly 1,000 contacts that we had who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, we're aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day through multiple channels of communication, phone, email, text messaging to determine whether they still want to leave and to get the most up to date information and instructions to them for how to do so." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "Thus, from this list of approximately 1000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is lower, likely significantly lower. Having said that, these are dynamic calculations that we are working hour by hour to refine for accuracy REPORTER AT BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "It's hard to overstate the complexity and the danger of this effort. We're operating in a hostile environment in a city and country now controlled by the Taliban with the very real possibility of an ISIS-K attack. We're taking every precaution, but this is very high risk." REPORTER AT BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "But let me be crystal clear about this. There is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with the many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years and want to leave and have been unable to do so. That effort will continue every day past August 31st. The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third country nationals and Afghans at risk going forward past August 31st. The United States, our allies and partners and more than half of the world's countries, 114 in all, issued a statement making it clear to the Taliban that they have a responsibility to hold to that commitment and provide safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave the country, not just for the duration of our evacuation relocation mission, but for every day thereafter." REPORTER AT BRIEFING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, ANTONY BLINKEN, SAYING: "Of the 82,000 plus people who so far have been evacuated, about 45 - 46 percent have been women and children. And we've been intensely focused particularly on making sure that we can get women at risk out of out of harm's way. Second, with regard to women and other Afghans-at-risk going forward. We will use, I will use every diplomatic, economic, political and assistance tool at my disposal working closely with allies and partners who feel very much the same way to do everything possible to uphold their basic rights." BLINKEN LEAVING
- Embargoed: 8th September 2021 20:50
- Keywords: Afghanistan Blinken State Taliban evacuation
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: US
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001ERS4L6V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The United States has evacuated at least 4,500 U.S. citizens and their families from Afghanistan since mid-August, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday (August 25), adding that Washington was "aggressively" reaching out to around 1,000 remaining contacts.
Blinken told a news conference there was no deadline on the effort to help people who want to leave Afghanistan, both Americans and others, and that that effort would continue "as long as it takes."
When the U.S. evacuation effort began, there were as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave, based on a U.S. analysis, Blinken said. The remaining contacts now number around 1,000.
"For the remaining roughly 1000 contacts that we had, who may be Americans seeking to leave Afghanistan, we're aggressively reaching out to them multiple times a day, through multiple channels of communication," Blinken said.
"From this list of approximately 1,000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is lower, likely significantly lower," he said, cautioning repeatedly that the numbers could be changing every hour.
He also said 45 percent to 46 percent of the more than 82,000 people who have so far been evacuated have been women and children.
Western countries rushed to evacuate people from Afghanistan with less than a week left until all foreign troops leave, acknowledging that many Afghans who helped them will be left behind to an uncertain fate under the Taliban.
Although the airlift is due to last until Tuesday, the United States military said it will shift its focus in the final two days from assisting fleeing civilians to evacuating its own troops.
(Production: Pavithra George)
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