Blinken Says 'Under 200' Americans Still Want to Leave Afghanistan After Last Troops Depart

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday said that "under 200" Americans who remain in Afghanistan still want to leave the country.

Blinken promised that the State Department would continue its "relentless efforts" to help Americans and U.S. allies leave Afghanistan despite the end of the military mission.

The secretary of state said that around 6,000 Americans had so far been "evacuated or otherwise departed" from Afghanistan amid the chaotic withdrawal, with only a small number still in the country. Blinken pointed out that some Americans may choose to remain.

"We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave," Blinken said during a news conference. "We're trying to determine exactly how many. We're going through manifests and calling and texting through our lists. And we'll have more details to share as soon as possible."

"There are long-time residents of Afghanistan who have American passports and are trying to determine whether or not they want to leave," he continued. "For many, it's a painful choice ... If an American in Afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now and then in a week, or a month, or a year they reach out and say, 'I've changed my mind,' we will help them leave."

It is not clear how many Americans who do not want to leave Afghanistan may still remain in the country. Blinken said that the U.S. would hold the Taliban to statements indicating that they will allow both foreigners and Afghans to freely leave the country.

Blinken maintained that a United Nations Security Council resolution passed hours earlier "enshrines" the Taliban's responsibility to allow free movement and lays "the groundwork to hold the Taliban accountable if they renege."

The decades-long U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan—started soon after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001—ended as an Air Force C17 lifted off at 11:59 p.m. local time on Monday, just before the August 31 deadline that President Joe Biden set for withdrawal earlier this year.

Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, confirmed that "every single U.S. servicemember is out of Afghanistan" in a press conference soon after.

Blinken said that facilitating evacuation for the remaining American civilians and others including Afghans who aided the U.S. would be "an entirely different phase" than the military evacuation. He said that a "small number of daily charter flights" from the Kabul airport could aid the effort at some point, while the State Department was working on strategies to help others exit the country over land.

Antony Blinken State Department Afghanistan Americans Evacuation
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there were "under 200 and likely closer to 100" Americans who remain in Afghanistan and still want to leave as of Monday. Blinken is pictured during a press conference at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on August 25, 2021. ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP/Getty