The government of the United States is telling Americans stranded in Afghanistan that they cannot guarantee their safety as they attempt to get to the airport to be evacuated.
A congressional aide speaking to CBS News told the reporter that there are still 10-15,000 American citizens trapped in the nation without a way to get to Kabul.
“We think there are certainly thousands of Americans. We don’t have an exact count. I would say somewhere best guess between 5 and 10,000 near Kabul,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said during an interview with CNN’s John Berman on New Day.
Kirby said that those stranded do not need to continue sheltering in place and can make their way to the airport, telling CNN that “they can begin movement to the airport for processing flights out.”
However, the State Department is sending alerts to people who remain there, telling them to get to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul for evacuation, but that their safety is not guaranteed.
The below note went out this afternoon to American citizens requesting to be evacuated from Afghanistan, @alanacbs reports. It instructs people to come to Hamid Karzai Intl Airport in Kabul, but says the US govt cannot guarantee their safety as they make the trip. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/rgEyjGup4K
— Sara Cook (@saraecook) August 17, 2021
“Thank you for registering your request to be evacuated from Afghanistan. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has confirmed that an undefined number of U.S. government provided flights will begin soon. Please make your way to Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time,” the message read.
“PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR SECURITY AS YOU MAKE THIS TRIP,” the message continued.
The U.S. is not helping those who are stranded with their transportation to the airport, leaving them entirely to their own devices in the war-torn country.
Kirby said during a press conference on Tuesday that the US is in talks with Taliban leaders “multiple times per day” and that they would “let the results speak for themselves,” referring to the fact that planes have been allowed to arrive and depart to remove people since yesterday.
Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, vice director for logistics of the Joint Staff, said that US troops have not had “hostile interactions” with the Taliban as the departure is underway.
“We have had no hostile interactions, no attack and no threat by the Taliban. We remain vigilant. We also have not experienced any additional security incidents at [Hamid Karzai International Airport airport]. We retain the security at HKIA that enables the safe, orderly evacuation of Americans and Afghans,” Taylor said during a Pentagon press briefing on Tuesday.
“I want to reinforce that we are focused on the present mission. To facilitate the safe evacuation of US citizens, SIV’s and Afghans at risk, to get them out of Afghanistan as quickly and as safely as possible. That mission has not changed,” he continued.