Blinken update

August 26, 2021
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I talked a lot about numbers this afternoon, but even as we’re laser-focused on the mission, we know that this is about real people …

Sec. of State Antony Blinken providing the latest numbers on the Afghanistan evacuation.

Sec. Blinken said there were approximately 6,000 Americans in Afghanistan when the mission began; approx. 4,500 have been evacuated in the last 10 days, another 500 contacted and given “specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely,” and another 1,000 yet to be reached may or may not still be in the country.

Here’s the key excerpts of his speech along with the full transcript.

“As the President said yesterday, we’re on track to complete our mission by August 31st provided the Taliban continue to cooperate and there are no disruptions to this effort. The President has also asked for contingency plans in case he determines that we must remain in the country past that date. But let me be crystal-clear about this: There is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with the many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years and want to leave and have been unable to do so. That effort will continue every day past August 31st.”

“… I talked a lot about numbers this afternoon, but even as we’re laser-focused on the mission, we know that this is about real people, many scared, many desperate. I’ve seen the images, I’ve read the stories, I’ve heard the voices, so much of that reported by you and your colleagues so courageously. Like many of you, I read the report of the Afghan translator whose two-year-old daughter was trampled to death on Saturday while waiting outside the airport. I’ve got two small kids of my own. Reading that story and others was like getting punched in the gut.”

by Jenna Lee,

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