President BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE on Tuesday vowed the federal government would remain committed to getting U.S. citizens who want to leave Afghanistan out of the country, estimating that up to 200 still remain following the American military withdrawal.
"The bottom line: 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. And for those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out," Biden said in prepared remarks from the White House laying out his rationale for ending the war in Afghanistan.
The Biden administration believes between 100 and 200 Americans are still in Afghanistan who have "some intention to leave." The president pointed to the roughly 5,500 U.S. citizens who were airlifted out of the country in recent weeks after the Taliban took control of major cities and the capital of Kabul.
"And for those who remain, we will make arrangements to get them out if they so choose," Biden said.
"As for the Afghans, we and our partners have airlifted 100,000 of them," Biden added. "No country in history has done more to airlift out the residents of another country than we have done. We will continue to work to help more people leave the country who are at risk."
Biden has faced bipartisan criticism after the U.S. completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan with numerous American citizens still in the country. He defended the withdrawal Tuesday, pointing to recommendations from military and diplomatic advisers that getting forces out of Afghanistan by Tuesday would be the safest way to get Americans out.
The president pushed back further on those who accused him of leaving Americans behind, saying the government had reached out 19 times to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan since March to provide multiple warnings about the looming dangers there and to offer assistance leaving the country.
Republicans in particular have accused Biden of hypocrisy, noting the president told ABC's George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosHarris says 2024 is 'absolutely not' being discussed yet with Biden Harris says she doesn't feel underused in Biden administration The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Gosar censured as GOP drama heightens MORE earlier this month that U.S. forces would stay in Afghanistan beyond the Tuesday deadline if Americans still needed to be evacuated.
Since the end of July, the U.S. military and coalition forces have evacuated more than 123,000 civilians from Afghanistan as the Taliban gained control of the country quicker than officials anticipated. Nearly 6,000 Americans have been evacuated from or otherwise departed Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials.
“It is paramount that the United States remain engaged with our international partners to evacuate remaining U.S. citizens and Afghan allies,” Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Sununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire Three female senators call NYT coverage of Sinema's clothes 'sexist' MORE (D-N.H.) said after the last American military plane left Afghanistan.
Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay CBO releases cost estimate of Biden plan Real conservatives must make a choice MORE (R-Neb.) called the withdrawal on Monday a “national disgrace” and accused Biden of “cowardice and incompetence.”
“The President made the morally indefensible decision to leave Americans behind. Dishonor was the President’s choice. May history never forget this cowardice,” Sasse said in a statement.
Three top House Republicans on Monday asked White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanGOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions NATO head warns Russia against Ukrainian incursion When will Biden declare America's 'One China, One Taiwan' policy? MORE for the plan to repatriate Americans and evacuate others that will be left behind.