Efforts to evacuate permanent American residents from Afghanistan fell short of the Pentagon’s daily goal of 9,000 people.
On Tuesday, reinforcements arrived to help soldiers on the ground who spent Monday securing the airport. The White House said 1,100 American residents and their families were evacuated from Afghanistan on 13 different flights.
“The US has approved about 6,000 troops to assist with security and evacuations on the ground, more than double the number of American troops in Afghanistan when the withdrawal was announced in May,” reports The Daily Mail. “Washington said on Tuesday night that more than 3,200 people have been evacuated from Kabul so far.”
The State Department said on Sunday that personnel from its embassy in Kabul had successfully been evacuated to the city’s airport.
The press secretary for the Department of Defense, John Kirby, told CNN on Tuesday that there could be anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 U.S. citizens near Afghanistan’s capital.
“We don’t have an exact count,” he said.
He added that once operations were established, the U.S. may be able to remove 5,000 to 9,000 people per day.
President Biden allocated $500 million in additional funds for Afghan refugee relocation. This includes applicants for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). In his remarks on Monday, President Biden added that volunteers for nongovernmental organizations and news personnel would also be eligible.
The decision was made under the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962, which allows a president to help displaced people during global conflicts.
The Biden administration “had previously pledged to help evacuate over 80,000 Afghan civilians who qualify for SIVs, such as people who worked with the U.S. or international organizations and risk retribution from the Taliban,” per The Hill.
Biden said on Monday the government had relocated nearly 2,000 Afghan special immigrants to the United States since July. They are being housed at Fort Lee in central Virginia.
The total number of American residents trapped in Afghanistan is unclear.
Assistant secretary of state for President George W. Bush, Robert Charles, said to Fox News on Tuesday, “There is a document in the embassy called the F77 and that describes how many Americans are in the country.”
“I was told that there are 15,000, possibly as many as 40,000, Americans waiting to get out,” he said.