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Thousands Of Americans Stuck In Afghanistan Told To Shelter In Place, US Can’t Clear Path To Airport

(Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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Thousands of American citizens on the ground in Afghanistan have been told to shelter in place and await evacuation following the Taliban capture of Kabul over the weekend.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday the message to Americans in Afghanistan right now is to “shelter in place” until the U.S. Embassy tells them when to travel to the airport and where exactly to go, CNN’s Kylie Atwood reported. Kabul’s airport has been the site of mass chaos in recent days as the U.S. attempts to evacuate personnel amid a throng of fleeing Afghans.

CBS News reported Tuesday that American citizens requesting evacuation from Afghanistan received a note from the embassy telling them an undefined number of U.S. government-provided flights would begin leaving from Kabul soon, and that they should make their way to the airport at this time.

However, the note emphasized that the U.S. government cannot guarantee those individuals’ safety as they make that trip. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Biden Was Dead Wrong On The Taliban Takeover)

A State Department spokesperson provided the following statement to the Daily Caller: “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.”

The spokesperson added they do not track the exact number of Americans in any foreign country at any given time, and while U.S. embassies track estimates for contingency planning, the department does not want to provide numbers that are not authoritative.

One Congressional aide reportedly told CBS there are between 10-15,000 Americans still in the country that need to be evacuated. A separate CBS report said there are about 5,000 Americans on the State Department’s list, half of whom reportedly received calls telling them to go to the airport in Kabul. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday there are 11,000 “self-identified” Americans still in Afghanistan, while Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby said there are between 5,000 and 10,000.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday with the Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar and the Foreign Ministers of Qatar and Kuwait about efforts to facilitate the safe transport of American citizens out of Afghanistan, but did not go into detail about what those efforts entail. (RELATED: Taliban Leader Released From Prison By US Request Returns To Afghanistan 20 Years After Losing Power)

U.S. troops shot and killed two armed men at the airport in Kabul on Monday. A White House official announced Tuesday that the airport had been secured by American forces and military flights evacuating Americans would begin soon.