“The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA. They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort,” said Horne. “This is a positive first step.”
“We will continue these efforts to facilitate the safe and orderly travel of American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghans who worked for us and wish to leave Afghanistan,” Horne continued. “Because there is an ongoing terrorist threat to operations of this nature, we will not be sharing details of these efforts before people are safely out of the country.”
Horne also claimed to have brought “more than 6,000 American citizens and lawful permanent residents home to the United States” while stranding an unknown number in the country behind enemy lines.
The White House originally stated 11,000 Americans were in the country at the time Afghanistan collapsed, leaving 5,000 unaccounted. However, Biden stated in his congratulatory deadly evacuation speech that only ten percent were left trapped in the country.
The White House’s continued congratulatory tone on Thursday comes after the Taliban Wednesday were reportedly holding hostage 143 American citizens from leaving the country.
“U.S. Lawmakers and veterans trying to assist in the evacuation of 143 stranded Americans and many Afghan allies are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of action by the Biden administration,” Real Clear Politics reported about the chartered planes at Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Though State Department Secretary Antony Blinken has acknowledged the Taliban is blocking Americans’ passageway out of Afghanistan, Biden’s administration is also “insisting the Taliban’s efforts to block flights from leaving the country is not a ‘hostage’ crisis – that the militant group controlling Afghanistan simply wants the proper documents from those seeking to leave.” ✪