Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, demanding answers on the number of Americans left in Afghanistan. He also sought clarification about the fate of Americans and Afghan allies “left in harm’s way” on September 1, 2021.
In the August 30 missive, DeSantis blasted the Biden administration’s “continued lack of information,” deeming it “unacceptable.”
“The crisis in Afghanistan is of President Biden’s own making, yet the consequences extend beyond the borders of Afghanistan and into the United States,” DeSantis wrote.
Governors need transparency, he said, before posing a series of questions:
- How many Floridians remain in Afghanistan
- What is the Administration doing to ensure the safe evacuation of all American citizens and all eligible Afghan partners?
- How many Afghans are being evacuated to the United States and where are they going?
- What is the vetting process of Afghans being transported to the United States?
- Have any evacuees been flagged for possible ties to terrorism during security protocols?
- What will happen to American citizens and Afghan allies left in harm’s way on September 1, 2021?
“I have a responsibility to protect the safety of every Floridian and stress the imperative of an immediate response,” DeSantis added.
On Monday, the Pentagon announced the last U.S. troops departed Afghanistan. Blinken, while addressing the nation, was unable to say exactly how many Americans were left behind, a point quickly picked up across a broad range of news outlets.
“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,” he said, asserting it is a difficult thing to do because some are “longtime residents of Afghanistan who have American passports and who are trying to determine whether or not they wanted to leave.”
“Many are dual citizen Americans with deep roots and extended families in Afghanistan who resided there for many years,” he claimed. “For many, it’s a painful choice. Our commitment to them and to all Americans in Afghanistan and everywhere in the world continues.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby also admitted Americans were left behind.
“As Gen. McKenzie said yesterday, we’re heartbroken that we couldn’t get everybody out, but they still have our commitment, they still have the commitment of this administration and the United States, and we’re going to do everything we can to continue to try to get them out of that country and out safely,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
On Tuesday morning, members of the Taliban stood on Kabul international airport’s tarmac and declared victory.