Ian Patrick, FISM News
With the fallout from the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan continuing to this day, the Defense Department admitted that there were a number of “immediate family members” still in the Taliban-controlled nation, in a memo sent on November 4.
Written by Colin Kahl, the Under Secretary of Defense, the memo asked U.S. military personnel and DoD civilians to reach out to his office if any known immediate family members still in Afghanistan wanted to get out. Kahl writes this is “a high priority” for the department.
DoD places a high priority on facilitating the departure of Afghan nationals who are immediate family members of U.S. citizen or LPR military personnel (active duty, reservists, and members of the National Guard) and DoD civilian employees. Immediate family members eligible for facilitated departure from Afghanistan are defined by U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services as the spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens and LPR military personnel and DoD civilian employees.
Kahl says that any member who requests extraction for an immediate family member should provide specific details including their current address and passport information.
He further says that “there are a number of challenges related to departures of Afghan nationals” due to the lack of a U.S. presence and embassy, but the DoD plans to “provide support in this relocation effort to the greatest possible extent.”
NBC News writes in their report on the matter that there are still “several dozen immediate family members of U.S. service members in Afghanistan,” citing Defense Department officials.
The Pentagon has steadily released more information concerning the amount of Americans left in Afghanistan who want to leave, especially as the consequences of the disastrous pullout became more clear.
The day Americans left, officials said there were maybe a couple hundred Americans left behind, a number that was later refuted. The government immediately received blowback for the extraction since President Biden had previously said in an interview that he would stay until all Americans were out.
Eventually, news began to slowly trickle out of the federal government that in fact closer to 450 Americans were left behind – some who wanted out and some who reportedly weren’t ready to leave yet – along with a large amount of Afghani nationals who wanted out as well.
Reports of more Americans being left behind came out even before the Pentagon admitted to it. Texas Representative Michael McCaul wrote a letter to State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saying “hundreds of Texans” have contacted him about getting “friends and family members safely out of the country.”