WASHINGTON – A commercial flight carrying 21 Americans and 48 lawful permanent residents of the United States left Kabul, Afghanistan over the weekend, the State Department confirmed on Monday.
In total, at least 85 U.S. citizens and 79 lawful permanent residents have left Afghanistan since the U.S. ended a large-scale humanitarian evacuation and completed the withdrawal of its troops in August, according to data from the Department of ‘State.
“We are grateful to the Qatari authorities who continue to coordinate these flights with the Taliban,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday. He said the Biden administration is still working to help U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and vulnerable Afghans leave Afghanistan.
The Taliban’s swift capture of Afghanistan last month sparked a chaotic effort by the United States and its allies to drive civilians and vulnerable Afghans out of the country. As of August 31, approximately 125,000 people, including approximately 6,000 US citizens and their families, had been evacuated from the country.
However, not everyone was able to complete it on time. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told lawmakers last week that nearly 100 U.S. citizens are still seeking evacuation from Afghanistan.
Blinken blamed the Trump administration for America’s chaotic exit from its longest war, saying, “We inherited a deadline, we inherited a plan.
“There has not been a single interview at the Kabul Special Immigrant Visa Program for nine months since March 2020. The program was essentially at an impasse,” Blinken said on September 13.
“We made the right decision to end America’s longest war, we made the right decision not to send third generation Americans to Afghanistan to fight and die,” Blinken said.
Despite the Taliban takeover, President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. Biden was forced last month to order the temporary deployment of thousands of US troops to Kabul to help with the evacuation efforts.
Thirteen US servicemen and dozens of Afghans were killed in an ISIS-K suicide bombing at Kabul airport during the evacuation. A subsequent US drone strike in Kabul killed more than 10 civilians in what the Pentagon described as a tragic mistake.