Several thousand U.S. green card holders remain stranded in Afghanistan under Taliban rule alongside the roughly 100 U.S. citizens already known to be there, Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified Monday to Congress.
President Joe Biden, Blinken and military leaders have faced heavy and bipartisan criticism for their handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which left U.S. citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan allies and refugees stranded in the country. (RELATED: Blinken Admits At Least 30 Americans Were Unable To Access Flights, Does Not Know How Many Remain In Afghanistan)
Blinken confirmed the estimated number of green card holders while testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday.
“What is the number of Americans who are in Afghanistan as of the last update you received?” Republican New York Rep. Lee Zeldin asked.
“Congressman, going back to this weekend we had about 100 American citizens in contact with us who seek to leave Afghanistan. Those are the Americans we’re working with,” Blinken responded, adding that he could not offer an exact number.
“How many green card holders?” Zeldin pressed.
“Green card holders is something we don’t track directly,” Blinken said. “So what we’ve done is we’ve solicited people, if they are green card holders, to let us know. I think the best estimates are that there are several thousand green card holders in Afghanistan.”
Many of the Afghans the Biden administration did evacuate to the U.S. have not undergone enough vetting to obtain even an SIV, much less a green card, according to Blinken.
Rep. Scott Perry: “How many Afghans not meeting the qualifications of SIV have been brought to the United States?”
Sec. Blinken: “Approximately 60,000, some of those will have been through the SIV process. All of them will have gone through rigorous security checks.” pic.twitter.com/dSU4rWJjmX
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 13, 2021
Biden promised earlier this year to carry out a “safe and orderly” withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. exit instead turned out to be deadly and frantic, as 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide bombing while protecting the Kabul airport, the only airstrip available in the country after Biden’s administration chose to close Bagram Air Base.