The US is working to assist 44 Americans who want to leave Afghanistan and numerous others who have been detained by the de facto authorities, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
Blinken was speaking before Congress when members of the opposition Republican Party went on the offensive on the US exit from Afghanistan in 2021 and requested the release of a State Department internal dissent cable.
Blinken, in response to a question, said that Taliban authorities were detaining “several Americans.”
“There are several Americans whom the Taliban are detaining. We are working to secure their freedom.” Blinken responded when asked by Wilson how many Americans remain in the war-torn country.
“The families have asked that we protect their identities and not speak publicly about their cases,” he replied.
“Those who have been detained — how many other Americans are there?” said Republican Representative Joe Wilson.
“As we speak, American citizens who identified themselves to us who are in Afghanistan — some of whom have been there since the withdrawal, some of whom went back to Afghanistan — there are about, that we are in contact with, about 175. Forty-four of them are ready to leave, and we are working to effectuate their departure,” he responded.
The republican representative also raised the question about a failed withdrawal, referring to the 26, 2021 attack outside Kabul airport where 13 US troops and 170 Afghan civilians were killed, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.
McCaul gave Blinken a Monday deadline to turn in a letter from US diplomats expressing disapproval of the withdrawal of US forces, which was widely reported in the media. The memo contained foresighted predictions that the Afghan government would fall swiftly.
“I will not rest until we get answers, and we will, even if we have to go all the way up the chain of command to do it,” McCaul said.
Blinken stated that senior State Department personnel are the only ones with access to the totality of dissident cables, but he nonetheless pledged to cooperate in sharing information.
The State Department, according to him, is “prepared to make the relevant information in that cable available, including through a briefing or some other mechanism,” he said.
On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed the Doha Agreement, which was said to be led to the full withdrawal of The United States troops and their allies from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Doha Agreement paved the way for the Taliban to regain power in August-Mid 2021. Since then, the international community has not recognised the de facto government.