US officials from several departments, including State and DoD, has expressed serious concerns about the wellbeing of Americans in Afghanistan who are located outside Kabul since they do not know how to get them through Taliban checkpoints located outside the city, The Washington Post writes citing two Senate aides.
Everything so far shows that the US has no official plans to evacuate up to 15,000 Americans outside Kabul, the location of the main airport, though their precise number was not immediately clear and Fox News got no comment from the State Department nor the Defense Department to its requests for comment after hours.
The Taliban, who has been on the offensive across the country for weeks, have also established checkpoints throughout Kabul and around the airport, but President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday they expressed willingness to provide safe passage of civilians to the airport and the US is going to hold the Taliban to that promise.
Sullivan tweeted later on Tuesday that they’re going to get all Americans out of Afghanistan while the State Department told American citizens in Afghanistan on Tuesday that they should shelter in place until further instruction by the US Embassy and warned them against traveling to the airport until they’re emailed that departure options exist.
At the same time, The Military Times reported that a hotline was set up on Sunday for the Americans trapped behind Taliban lines, by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s office, whose staffers promised to do everything in their power to keep them informed and get them out to safety.
In less than 24 hours, several hundred individuals Americans stranded in Afghanistan had contacted the line saying they haven’t yet been able to receive any clear communication from State Department officials or other government resources.
Colorado GOP Rep. Ken Buck offered stranded Americans similar assistance telling them to contact his office.
State Department officials have set up their own hotline for overseas calls as well as a Repatriation Assistance Request form for Americans seeking emergency flights out of Afghanistan, issuing at the same time confusing advisory telling people not to call the US Embassy in Kabul for details or updates about the flights.