While there has been considerable concern about hundreds of American citizens believed to be stranded in Afghanistan following the recent U.S. troop withdrawal, there are untold more Afghan nationals who worked alongside U.S. service members and would be eligible for a special visa.
A shocking new report asserts that “the majority” of Afghan citizens theoretically eligible for a visa has been left behind.
“Haunted by the choices”
According to the Washington Examiner, information obtained from the Department of State led to its conclusion.
A senior official chalked the abandonment of U.S. allies up to one of the “really painful trade-offs and choices” involved in the evacuation mission.
“Everybody who lived it is haunted by the choices we had to make and by the people we were not able to help depart in this first phase of the operation,” the official added, according to the Examiner.
U.S. forces faced several difficult circumstances, including the Taliban fighters who asserted control of Afghanistan, a deadly terrorists attack, and general unrest sparked by the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Further complicating matters, the unnamed State Department source said, is the fact that people who received “an electronic credential” permitting evacuation had copied and shared the credentials with ineligible individuals. For this reason, it was reportedly difficult to identify those people who were legitimately allowed to leave.
“An enormous commitment”
Despite the dire circumstances, however, the official claims that the agency is not giving up on the Afghan citizens left behind.
“We feel an enormous commitment to keep faith with all of the people to whom we owe this debt,” the source asserted. “We’re going to continue to do all we can in the coming weeks and months to fulfill that commitment and to help those who wish to leave Afghanistan to do so.”
Although the official focused on Afghan citizens eligible for visas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that there are also Americans left behind in the war-torn country.
Roughly 6,000 American citizens are believed to have been evacuated from Afghanistan, just over half of the estimated 11,000 Americans thought to have been in the country prior to the recent withdrawal.
Nevertheless, the Biden administration’s estimate of the number of stranded Americans numbers only in the hundreds. Of course, the White House has vowed to continue working toward getting these citizens safely out of the country, it is unclear how and when future attempts will actually happen now that the Taliban is in control.