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Blinken: A ‘Diplomatic Mission’ Has Begun in Afghanistan
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said fewer than 200 Americans were still in Afghanistan, pledging safe passage for them and assistance for Afghans who were at risk of reprisal for working with the U.S. government.
Eighteen days ago, the United States and our allies began our evacuation and relocation operation in Kabul. As you just heard from the Pentagon, a few hours ago, that operation was completed. More than 123,000 people have been safely flown out of Afghanistan. That includes about 6,000 American citizens. Now, U.S. military flights have ended and our troops have departed Afghanistan. A new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun. It’s one in which we will lead with our diplomacy. The military mission is over, a new diplomatic mission has begun. We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We’re trying to determine exactly how many. If an American in Afghanistan tells us that they want to stay for now and then in a week or a month or a year they reach out and say, I’ve changed my mind, we will help them leave. Additionally, we’ve worked intensely to evacuate and relocate Afghans who worked alongside us and are at particular risk of reprisal. We’ve gotten many out, but many are still there. We will keep working to help them. Our commitment to them has no deadline.
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