At the same time, the Republican lawmaker said the Taliban was blocking outbound flights and killing interpreters who were helping the U.S.
A senior White House official promised Sunday that the U.S. would find a way to get the remaining Americans in Afghanistan out if they wanted to leave the country, but a prominent Republican lawmaker said Taliban fighters are creating barriers to departures from Kabul airport.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Kline, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, said U.S. officials believe there are “about 100” Americans left in Afghanistan nearly a week after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal from the country after nearly two decades of war with al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.
“We will find ways to get them out if they want to leave,” Kline said, probably referring to the resumption of flights to Qatar. In addition, he said, the U.S. will continue to try to help Afghans who have cooperated with U.S. troops leave the country and escape life under Taliban rule.
However, one of the key opposition lawmakers, the leading Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Michael McCaul, said that based on U.S. intelligence, there are hundreds of Americans left in Afghanistan. He said not a single American has left Afghanistan since the last warplane left the country.