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How is the White House going to bring back the remaining Americans in Afghanistan?

It is estimated that there are still more than 100 Americans still in the country and many thousands more Afghans who are eligible to come to the US.

Members of the Taliban Badri 313 military unit stand besides damaged vehicles kept near the destroyed Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) base in Deh Sabz district northeast of Kabul on September 6, 2021.
Aamir QureshiAFP

Joe Biden is under continued pressure as his administration remains tight-lipped over how the Americans and Afghan allies will be rescued from Afghanistan. The president has a lot on his plate, with the ending of extra unemployment benefits happening over the last weekend at the same time as environmental crises and the international crisis in Afghanistan

In an interview on CNN, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the administration was in contact with "around 100" American nationals still in Afghanistan.

"In the coming days, the Qataris will be able to get air service into Kabul. Obviously, we are looking to get Americans on those flights," Klain said.

"The ones that want to leave, we will get them out."

It is now a week since the end of the military evacuation and the president is adamant that the job of evacuation is no longer a military endeavor, but a diplomatic one. The hope of support from the Qatari government has not gone down well with sections of American society, who are unhappy that American lives could be at risk with no plan to help them.

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Republicans circle

The seeming lack of a concrete plan has enraged Republicans, who had already been the most vocal about the debacle when Kabul was evacuated.

Congressman Ted Cruz decried Biden as having "abandoned" Americans in Afghanistan, while other such as Den Crenshaw and other Republicans criticized the president for being away at his Delaware retreat during the plight.

This mood has been further exacerbated by the reports of revenge killings from Taliban, who have been searching for Afghan collaborators. It is unlikely that Americans would be caught in this, but Afghans who are eligible to travel to the US will be at serious risk.

Reports also emerged on Tuesday of little to no movements at airports in Afghanistan with more than 1,300 people, including Americans, stuck in the northern airport of Mazar-i-Sharif. Like the reliance on the Qatar government, the US has stated they have no assets or power to force the Taliban to do anything at this stage.

"We do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace, whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region," the spokesperson told AFP.

The spokesperson added, "We will hold the Taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart Afghanistan."

Taliban defeat rebels

The repercussions wrought by the Taliban as the group claimed victory in the Panjshir valley, the last holdout of the anti-Taliban fighters. Videos on Tuesday showed the Taliban hoisting their flag over the governor's office.