WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Nearly two months after the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan following 20 years of war, more than 300 American citizens remain in the nation now under Taliban control.
That number is nearly triple the federal government’s original estimate.
The Biden administration and Pentagon says they are working to get those Americans out of Afghanistan.
“We are aware of concerns that some of our members have about their family members, absolutely,” Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby said. “(There is an) interagency effort to find safe passage for these individuals to the best of our ability.”
But he said the repatriation efforts will not lead the U.S. to send troops back to Afghanistan.
Instead, the U.S. Department of State is relying on diplomatic agreements with the Taliban, with press secretary Ned Price saying the U.S. is insisting the Taliban uphold “the right of free passage for those who wish to depart Afghanistan.”
Kirby added that U.S. partners in the region will be key in evacuating Americans.
That’s not good enough for Republicans on Capitol Hill, who continue to slam the Biden administration’s exit strategy.
“Hundreds of Americans are still in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, President (Joe) Biden and Democrats are trying to cram through trillions in new tax hikes,” Rep. Greg Murphy, R-S.C., said on the House floor.
“What are their priorities? A new gender strategy,” he added. “Are you kidding me?”
The U.S. also continues to work with nonprofits to help thousands of Afghan refugees who fled their homeland as the U.S. pulled out and the Western-backed Afghan government crumbled before the Taliban.