When President Joe Biden gave his first interview after the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban in mid-August, he promised that American troops would stay until all American citizens were out.
When U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie spoke to reporters after American troops withdrew on Aug. 31, he noted not all American citizens were evacuated in time. However, he said administration officials were on the case, insisting “the military phase of this operation is ended. The diplomatic sequel to that will now begin.”
When White House chief of staff Ron Klain appeared on CNN this weekend, he didn’t seem to know how many American citizens were left in Afghanistan that wanted to leave, how many had been evacuated or what the plan was to get them evacuated.
During his appearance on “State of the Union” Sunday, host Dana Bash noted “more than 100 American citizens were left behind when the last military flight left Kabul earlier this week.” She asked what their status was, whether any had been evacuated and how many remained.
On all three counts, Klain came across as felicitously inexact or blissfully ignorant.
“We believe it’s around 100” Americans who are still left in the country, Klain said. “We’re in touch with all of them who we have identified on a regular basis.
“Obviously, we’re hopeful that, in the coming days, the Qataris will be able to resume air service out of Kabul,”