The Biden administration, which had been saying for weeks that the number of Americans still left behind in Afghanistan and urgently want to be evacuated was about 100, has now increased the number to about 200.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said last week that while the U.S. airlifted out dozens of people in the past couple days, more people had come forward in recent weeks expressing a desire to leave and the number is somewhere between 100 and 200, The Washington Times reported.
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, criticized the Biden administration.
“For weeks, their official number was ‘about a hundred’ and it magically never changed — as Americans slowly got out the total number never went down. Now they say more than 300 Americans are still in Afghanistan,” Sasse was quoted as saying.
The number quoted by Sasse includes Americans who, according to the State Department, haven’t said they want to leave.
Price, however, claimed that the “proven ability” of the U.S. in airlifting people out is behind the higher number of people wanting to flee.
Following the drawing down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly seized control of much of the country, taking the capital Kabul in August and forcing the government to flee.
Afghanistan’s interim government includes more than a dozen leaders who are designated terrorists and ex-Guantanamo detainees.
Meanwhile, Aman Khalili, an Afghan interpreter who helped rescue Biden in 2008, when he was a senator, after a helicopter he and other senators were riding on had to make an emergency landing in Afghanistan, was able to escape earlier this month.
U.S. veterans worked with former Afghan soldiers and Pakistani allies to help Khalili cross the border into Pakistan with his family, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Aman helped keep me and other Americans safe while we were fighting in Afghanistan, and we wanted to return the favor,” said Brian Genthe, a combat veteran, was quoted as saying. “He’s a blessing.”
Last month, the Taliban declared they will carry out executions and other brutal punishments, including amputations, under Islamic Sharia law as part of their rule in Afghanistan.
“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, a member of the Taliban’s interim government and chief enforcer of the group’s strict interpretation of Sharia law, told The Associated Press. “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments. No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.”
Turabi, who is under U.N. sanctions, also said the new government may consider carrying out such punishments in public.
The Taliban have banned all demonstrations and have violently cracked down on protests, including beating women and killing demonstrators.
The Taliban are arresting, and in some instances executing, people they perceive as their enemies, Christian missionary David Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer, said in an earlier interview with CBN News.
Eubank also said recent photos and video suggest they’re killing as many as 30 to 40 people at a time.
“They [the Taliban] are hunting down people right now, trying to get all the names of anyone they perceive as an enemy,” Eubank said, adding that the enemies include “people who work with the U.S. government, people who are with other governments, people who work with nongovernmental organizations they don’t agree with.”