Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. announced Monday evening that the last of the U.S. troops stationed at the Kabul airport had left, completing the military’s drawdown in the country, even though hundreds of Americans likely remain.
McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, said some American citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan remain in country.
“We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out,” he said.
President Joe Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during an interview on Aug. 18 that the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan was to get “everyone” out, including Americans and Afghan allies and their families.
“That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there,” he said. “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
A senior State Department official told Fox News on Monday that there is still a “small number” of Americans who are in Afghanistan.
That official put the number of Americans at “below 250,” adding that some additional Americans have departed Afghanistan in recent hours. The official added that the State Department is also committed to evacuating “those who worked with us,” referring to Afghan “partners.”
The announced end of the withdrawal comes less than a day before the official deadline agreed to by the Taliban, which was 3:29 p.m. EST Tuesday – 11:59 p.m. local time in Kabul, U.S. defense officials told Fox News.
The Taliban has said they will allow normal travel after the U.S. withdrawal is completed on Tuesday and they assume control of the airport.
Brooke Singman and Nick Kalman contributed reporting.