Pentagon admits nearly 450 Americans are STILL in Afghanistan

Pentagon admits nearly 450 Americans are STILL in Afghanistan
Pentagon admits nearly 450 Americans are STILL in Afghanistan

The Pentagon admitted Tuesday that as many as 450 Americans are still in Afghanistan, more than the Biden administration has previously let on. 

Following the US' frenzied withdrawal from Kabul, the State Department said in late September that there were less than 100 Americans still in Afghanistan who were looking to flee. 

But last week the State Department said it was in contact with 363 Americans in Afghanistan, and has already withdrawn 234 since the US military's exit.  

Colin H. Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, added to that number, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee that the State Department is 'in contact with 196 American citizens who are ready to depart, and arrangements are being made for them to do so either via air or over ground. And another 243 American citizens have been contacted and are not ready to depart — either because they want to stay in Afghanistan or aren't ready.

That total, 439, adds 76 to the tally. 

At a briefing Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the number of Americans stranded in Afghanistan had at one point been below 100, but now was back up to between 100 and 200 based on fluctuation on the ground.  

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Islamic State in Afghanistan could develop the capability to attack the United States in as little as six months, according to Kahl. The stark warning is the latest reminder of the danger that remains after U.S. troops left the country at the end of August and the Taliban retook control.

Kahl said the U.S. had to remain vigilant against the threat from Al Qaeda and from the Islamic State's Afghanistan offshoot known as ISIS-K.  

'I think the intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and Al Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States, but neither currently has the capability to do so,' he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

'We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months. 

'I think the current assessments by the intelligence community as Al Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability.' 

Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl said the U.S. had to remain vigilant against the threat from Al Qaeda and from the Islamic State's Afghanistan offshoot known as ISIS-K

Under Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl said the

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