As many as 1,500 American citizens may still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan and the Taliban have pledged to allow some departures after US troops leave the country on August 31, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says.
The Taliban has committed to allowing Americans and at-risk Afghans to leave the war-torn country after the August 31 US withdrawal deadline, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken told reporters at the State Department on Wednesday the effort to bring people out of Afghanistan will not end with the military evacuation on the 31st.
"The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third country nationals and for Afghans at risk going forward past August 31," Blinken said.
"We will use every diplomatic, economic assistance tool at our disposal, working hand-in-hand with the international community first and foremost to ensure that those who want to leave Afghanistan after the 31st are able to do so," he added.
Blinken said Washington holds "points of incentive, and points of leverage" with the future Afghan government.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that his administration remains on track to meet the August deadline, and said he hoped to conclude the process as soon as possible.
The US has evacuated more than 82,000 people from Afghanistan since it took control of Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 14.
1,500 Americans likely still awaiting evacuation
As many as 1,500 American citizens may still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan and the Taliban has pledged to allow some departures after US troops leave the country on August 31, Blinken said.
Blinken told reporters that at least 4,500 American citizens of the 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan have departed.
He said officials have been in "direct contact" with another 500 Americans who want to leave and have provided them with "specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely."
Officials were "aggressively reaching out" to the remaining 1,000 Americans to "determine whether they still want to leave," he said.
"Some may no longer be in the country," Blinken said. "Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be. Some may choose to stay."
"Of the approximately 1,000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is significantly lower," he said.
The figures include only American passport holders, not green card recipients, nor lawful permanent residents.