State Dept. informed congressional staff Thursday that it is in touch with 363 American citizens in Afghanistan, 176 of whom want to leave, per @jmhansler
That is significantly higher than the estimates of roughly 100 in Aug. which Admin officials regularly cited.
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) October 22, 2021
As these Americans try to escape by their own means, the U.S. government has invented numbers to make it appear successful.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price suggested two months ago that “around 100” Americans remained, but the Department reported to Congress Thursday that the number is really 363—nearly four times the previously “estimated” number.
In a press briefing on Monday, Price dodged questions concerning the number of Americans trapped, suggesting that “in terms of a number of American citizens” requiring rescue, “this is a figure that, as you know, is not static.”
But for Price, Americans trapped in Afghanistan don’t count unless they believe that the U.S. can secure their escape.
“It is not immutable precisely because as Americans in the country—some of whom may be identifying themselves to us for the first time—see that we are able to effect the safe departure of Americans and LPRs and others from Afghanistan, that their calculus has changed,” he added.
He then continued to obscure the number, refusing to commit to anything exact before settling on laughably low numbers.
“That range has been anywhere from below a 100—right now it is somewhere in between 100 and 200 given that some Americans have—additional Americans have raised their hands, seeing our ability to effect their safe departure.”