US doesn’t know how many Americans were abandoned in Afghanistan – Washington Examiner

The top brass ordered by President Joe Biden to abruptly evacuate Afghanistan had no clue how many Americans were still hiding in or near Kabul as the Taliban took back control, and do now know how many were left behind.

In remarkable testimony on Tuesday, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also told Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) that the administration did know how many Afghan staff were abandoned but was clear that many were subsequently killed “in pretty brutal ways.”

Retired Gen. Mark Milley revealed to Smith, who has been pushing for answers ever since Biden’s chaotic and deadly August 2021 withdrawal, that troops were never given accurate numbers of Americans in Afghanistan at the time of the pullout.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley (Ret.): “I’ll be candid; I don’t know the exact number of Americans that were left behind because the starting number was never clear.”

— CSPAN (@cspan) March 19, 2024

Milley said that while U.S. forces were supposed to know, “That was always a difficult number for us in Department Defense to get a hold of and I think it’s true at the tactical level and operational level as well. And I’ll be candid, I don’t know the exact number of Americans that were left behind because the starting number was never clear. Same is true of at-risk Afghans SIVs, the commandos, other Afghans that served with us. Those numbers varied so widely that they were quite inaccurate, as best I could tell at the time. So I would just say I’m not sure even today about the accuracy of all those numbers.”

Smith asked what might have happened to those abandoned in the Biden orders.

“I think some were killed, Afghans. I don’t know about the Americans. I don’t think Americans were, but I think some of the Afghans were tracked down that worked with us. And I think some of them were killed in, and I’m pretty certain some of them in pretty brutal ways. Some managed to escape through various means. Others have just laid low and are keeping their heads down,” added Milley.

Ever since he arrived in the House in 1981, Smith has been a voice for human rights and forgotten Americans. He started by calling for help to locate Americans classified as POWs and MIAs in Vietnam, and today is manning a hearing on China’s “Mengele-like” harvesting of human organs.

In an interview with Secrets, the lawmaker expressed outrage at the president’s effort to forget the Afghan debacle that also resulted in the suicide bombing deaths of 13 soldiers at the Kabul airport during the withdrawal.

“It’s like, ‘Close that page. They don’t exist,’” said Smith. “There is a cruelty embedded in all of this. They don’t care, it’s hurting me politically,” he said of Biden’s reaction.


Smith said the same scenario is playing out in Haiti now, where the administration is showing little effort to rescue Americans from the gangs terrorizing the island nation.

“It’s contrary to every nerve in my body, and yours, I’m sure too. You’ve got to keep fighting to get your people out,” said Smith.