According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, tens of thousands of Afghan interpreters and others are still in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
According to a State Department official speaking to the Journal, over 60,000 Afghan interpreters and other people who have put in applications for asylum in the United States after helping American troops are still in Afghanistan.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
About 33,000 Afghans, including principal applicants and their families, have already cleared the more-onerous vetting requirements and could be eligible for immediate evacuation. This is the first time that the State Department has provided a number on those left behind since the Afghanistan government collapsed this summer.
A total of 62,000 Afghans are believed to have been left behind, the official said.
U.S. evacuation flights carried out by Qatar and other local facilitators in the area have recently taken place. While space is first given to residents of the United States and Americans, some spots are open for Afghans who have gotten through the visa process.
The Journal added:
The State Department official said that the remaining 29,000 visa applicants are in earlier stages of the application process. The figure doesn’t include their family members at this stage. The vetting steps aim to verify their employment history and check for connections to U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki received criticism for pushing back against a question about Afghanistan and the Americans who are still in the country.
“Why is it that there are still Americans stranded in Afghanistan?” a reporter asked Psaki.
“Well, I think, let me just reiterate something that Tony Blinken said back in August, which is that if Americans who were in Afghanistan wanted to leave, whether it was three weeks from now, a month from now, two months from now, back in August, we would help them get out,” Psaki answered. “And that is something that we’ve delivered on our word on. I would note that since that time, we’ve directly assisted 479 American citizens, 450 lawful permanent residents, and SIV holders and SIV applicants to depart Afghanistan. That was, that’s important to convey because it’s important for people to understand who were there that even if they decided not to, even if they decided not to today, we are still going to help them depart, and there’s evidence of that.”
“479 left behind is a lot higher than the 100 to 200 that President Biden was talking about at the end of August,” the reporter responded.
“479 who we’ve helped depart since August,” Psaki responded.
“Right. [And he] said that he thought that there were, we believe there are 100 to 200 with some intention to leave,” the reporter responded. “So how did the number, how did you guys get the numbers?”
“There were people who wanted, determined they wanted to leave since then,” Psaki claimed without citing evidence, “and it is our responsibility to help them depart. So that’s evidence of our commitment to do exactly that.”
The Journal’s recent report noted:
Since the fall of Kabul the U.S. has relocated 479 Americans and 450 U.S. residents with their families, the State Department said in an update this week. It has also evacuated 2,200 Afghan visa applicants and family members since the fall of Kabul.
Fewer than a dozen U.S. citizens who are ready to leave Afghanistan remain in the country, the State Department said.
However, the outlet added, volunteers who have worked to coordinate private flights out of the country claim the real amount of Americans who are still in Afghanistan is higher due to the fact that the U.S. won’t allow them to bring along dependent members of their family.