Some Republican members of Congress are pushing again on Biden administration figures of Individuals left behind in Afghanistan after the final U.S. troops left the nation on Monday, arguing they don’t give the complete image of who’s stranded beneath Taliban rule.
President Joe Biden mentioned in an deal with Tuesday that “about 100 to 200 Individuals stay in Afghanistan,” and that 90% (which the White Home later corrected in a transcript to 98%) “of Individuals in Afghanistan who needed to go away had been in a position to go away.”
GUNFIRE AND BEATINGS: CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES GET HARROWING REPORTS FROM AFGHANISTAN EVACUEES AND TRAPPED CITIZENS
That determine follows the State Division saying Monday, after the final U.S. navy airplane left Kabul, that the variety of Individuals left in Afghanistan was beneath 250.
“It is inconceivable at this level to know who’s nonetheless there and what number of there are,” Rep. Mike Garcia, a California Republican and fight Navy veteran, instructed the Washington Examiner. “However I do know it isn’t 250.”
“A few of these Americans truly married Afghans and had kids. The spouses and the children ended up not falling into the American citizen bucket.”
The State Division mentioned Wednesday that the variety of Individuals in Afghanistan is between 100 and 200 — and “possible nearer to 100.” It confirmed that the quantity accounts for U.S. residents solely, not authorized everlasting residents or quick members of the family of U.S. residents.
“They’re attempting to reduce the quantity,” Rep. Michael Waltz, a Florida Republican and Inexperienced Beret, instructed Fox Information Tuesday. “They’re counting Americans, not counting inexperienced card holders. They’re counting the residents, however not their household, after which shrugging shoulders and saying it’s a couple of hundred. It’s disgraceful.”
Republicans voiced their considerations as horror tales about these left behind roll into information feeds and congressional workplaces.
A faculty district in Sacramento, California, mentioned Wednesday 27 of its college students who’re a part of 19 households are caught in Afghanistan. The district has a big inhabitants of scholars of Afghan origin, and the scholars had been within the nation to go to members of the family.
Additionally amongst these trapped in Afghanistan are a 3-year-old boy , additionally from the Sacramento space, who’s an American citizen, and his members of the family, who’re all U.S. everlasting residents. Beneath the State Division’s accounting, solely the boy, and never those that take care of him, is a part of the 100-to-200 determine.
The State Division mentioned Wednesday that they “do have a dedication” to lawful everlasting residents however couldn’t present an estimate concerning the variety of those that stay in Afghanistan.
Each Garcia and Waltz have been extremely concerned in serving to coordinate evacuees from Afghanistan over the previous few weeks. Congressional workplaces are getting harrowing experiences of Individuals and their members of the family being overwhelmed by Taliban members and speaking to these stranded whereas listening to gunshots within the background.
Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, on Wednesday, tweeted a few pregnant U.S. citizen who “has braved beatings and harassment by the Taliban attempting to get previous their checkpoints to return to the US.” Earlier this week, he mentioned that two aged constituents over 80 years outdated had been stranded within the nation.
Nasria, a pregnant American citizen, has braved beatings and harassment by the Taliban attempting to get previous their checkpoints to return to the US. This is likely one of the people we proceed to assist. All ought to know the Individuals left behind in Afghanistan by President Biden.
— Rep. Darrell Issa (@repdarrellissa) September 1, 2021
Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, and 25 different senators on Thursday despatched a letter to Biden requesting extra detailed details about what number of U.S. residents, inexperienced card holders, and Particular Immigrant Visa candidates that the administration believes stay in Afghanistan.
Notably, the letter additionally asks the State Division the way it reached the estimates for these left and what steps it’s taking to determine further Individuals who’re in Afghanistan however won’t be linked with the state division.
An aide to Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon instructed the Washington Examiner mentioned he labored with one U.S. citizen who repeatedly tried to join State Division updates however didn’t get messages for days. The incident raised questions on whether or not the division programs embrace a full accounting of the Individuals there.
“Because of this you do not pull out the way in which we pulled out,” Garcia mentioned. “You do not make a set timeframe till you totally characterize and get an precise and correct manifest of everybody that is nonetheless within the nation.”
Garcia identified another excuse why the variety of folks left behind is tough to measure: the Taliban.
“They’re possible executing SIV’s and Americans,” Garcia mentioned. “And that quantity is altering due to the Individuals that had been left behind or not alive.”