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Americans who requested to be evacuated from Afghanistan received a note from the State Department informing them that the U.S. can’t “guarantee” their security on the way to the Kabul airport, CBS News reported on Tuesday.
The State Department has a list of roughly 5,000 Americans who have requested to leave Afghanistan and roughly half of them received the note, according to CBS.
“Thank you for registering your request to be evacuated from Afghanistan….Please make your way to Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time,” the note reads. “PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE UNITED STATES CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR SECURITY AS YOU MAKE THIS TRIP.”
The State Department did not comment directly on the note, however, a spokesperson told National Review that the agency had reached out to some Americans in Afghanistan.
“We have communicated directly with an initial tranche of U.S. citizens with specific instructions,” the spokesperson said. “Individuals should not come to the airport until they have been notified by the Embassy via email to do so. Any U.S. citizens requesting assistance who have not already completed the Repatriation Assistance Request form on Embassy Kabul’s website should do so as soon as possible.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that at least 11,000 Americans are currently in Afghanistan, although Pentagon spokesman John Kirby estimated the number at about 5,000 to 10,000.
Taliban fighters have whipped and beat some Afghans who attempted to enter the airport in Kabul, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News reported. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the Taliban have assured the U.S. that the group will facilitate safe passage of civilians to the airport, at a White House press conference on Tuesday.
“By and large what we have found is that people have been able to get to the airport and present themselves,” Sullivan said. “There have been instances where we’ve heard that people are being turned back and even beaten. We are taking that up in our channels with the Taliban.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Americans in Afghanistan should “shelter in place” until they receive a directive from the U.S. Embassy telling them to go to the airport.
“We are doing everything within our power to affect…a corridor of safe passage for civilians,” Price told reporters at a press conference. “If they feel that it is unsafe for them to make their way to the airport, they should not seek to do so….We will continue to be in touch with them to provide clear guidance about when and how they should make their way to the airport compound.”