UPDATED 2:38 PM PT – Tuesday, August 24, 2021
The Pentagon has refused to disclose the exact number of Americans evacuated from Afghanistan so far. According to Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby during Tuesday’s media briefing, the situation was evolving too rapidly to report specific numbers.
“I think we’re just going to leave it at several thousand right now and I understand that’s not a satisfying number to you,” he stated. “I would tell you that the number literally changes almost by the hour.”
Nonetheless, The Pentagon touted its biggest day of evacuation flights out of Afghanistan since the operation first began. Major Gen. Hank Taylor called it a tremendous display of teamwork and focus.
“To date, 63,900 American citizens, NATO and other partners personnel, Afghan SIV applicants and vulnerable Afghans are out of harm’s way,” he announced. “Now safer and on their journey to a better life.”
Since August 14, the U.S. has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 58,700 people. Since the end of July, we have re-located approximately 63,900 people.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 24, 2021
Meanwhile, Biden has faced growing pressure to extend the deadline for the full U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan amid a storm of criticism over what many called a chaotic withdrawal.
However, Biden was not budging as the Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday there had been no extension for that timeline.
Kirby went on to say, “certainly now that we have been able to increase the capacity and the flow, we believe that we have the ability to get that done by the end of the month.”
Kirby said the U.S. has been negotiating with the Taliban to get every American out of Kabul safely, despite not knowing how many U.S. citizens were still on the ground.