In August, just after the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, Joe Biden said, “If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”

Over two months has passed since he made that statement, and there are still legal permanent residents (LRP), military family members, and school children stranded in the now-terrorist-run country.

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According to State Department, the number of LRP’s look to be as much as 14,000 still stuck in Afghanistan. That number can’t be exactly verified because LPR’s are not tracked, nor are they required to report their whereabouts to the US.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN that it’s even harder to get an accurate count because so many Americans keep asking for help to get out. “More people have come forward in two ways,” Blinken said. “There were some small number of Americans in Afghanistan who didn’t want to leave who’ve now seen that we’ve successfully been able to get some of the few remaining Americans out who’ve now come forward and said, we do want to leave. And there are a couple of hundred of those who are ready to leave. And we will work to get them out.”

Foreign Policy reported that the 14,000 estimate was “disclosed by a congressional aide familiar with the matter,” and has been told to Capitol Hill Department aides privately.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Representative Chris Smith questioned deputy secretary of state for management and resources Brian McKeon. “Isn’t the operating assumption about 14,000?” Smith said.

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“We don’t track [legal permanent residents],” McKeon answered. “It’s a good question why we don’t.” His testimony revealed that, as of Tuesday, approximately 289 US citizens are still in Afghanistan. Additionally, 81 are ready to leave, and 140 Americans made it out in the last week.

In a statement to Foreign Policy, a State Department official said, “We do not have an exact number of LPRs and their immediate family members who have departed or who remain in Afghanistan. In this extraordinary situation we are facing in Afghanistan, we have helped LPRs seeking assistance to depart wherever possible.”

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As of earlier this week, there were still approximately 50 school children stuck in Afghanistan, specifically many who are traveling back to Sacramento.

The Sacramento Bee reported: “San Juan Unified [school district], which had at least 41 students trapped in Afghanistan in recent weeks, told The Sacramento Bee that some have since returned; others are on their way. Sixteen students have returned to Sacramento and 24 are still in Afghanistan, according to district officials.”

Sacramento City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar issued a statement regarding the students missing from his district. “We are mindful that they have endured harrowing experiences and may need help to process trauma as well as extra academic support,” Aguilar said. “Our school sites provide a wide range of services for families relocating from Afghanistan, and we will be ready to support our returning students and their families in their transition back to home in Sacramento.”

As of mid-October, Military.com reported that approximately 48 military members (from the Army and Marine Corp) were attempting to get over 500 relatives out of Afghanistan. Many of these military members are former Afghan translators who later joined a branch of the military.

Military.com reported: “‘There is no recognition that this is the mother of a U.S. soldier who’s putting his ass on the line for us every single day,’ said the retired officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern about being contacted by more people than they’d be able to help. ‘The one thing we always understand, and any branch of service you understand, is you always take care of your troops. To keep them in the game, you also assure them that no matter what, we’re going to take care of your family as well.'”

The New York Times reported that the military members had been traveling to Washington, DC to plead with the Biden Administration to get their family members out of the terrorist-run country and into safety.

“It was bad enough that American citizens were left behind, and our Afghan partners were left behind,” Texas Representative Michael McCaul who is the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “But when I found out that we have active service members whose families are stuck in Afghanistan, and the State Department can’t get them out? It was like the worst of the worst cases.”

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Jason Crow, a Democrat of Colorado and a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, said recently, “We need to get them out because the Taliban is actively hunting. They are systematically working through their lists. Time is of the essence here.”

This piece was written by Leah Anaya on November 5, 2021. It originally appeared in RedVoiceMedia.com and is used by permission.

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