Americans stranded in Afghanistan are being blamed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken for not registering with the U.S. government and waiting to evacuate as the CIA has begun helicopter rescue missions.
"There could be other Americans in Afghanistan who never enrolled with the Embassy, who ignored public evacuation notices, and have not yet identified themselves to us," Blinken said at Wednesday's press briefing.
Blinken also blamed Americans who are not enrolled with the U.S. Embassy in Kabul for their difficulties in reaching the airport because of safety concerns.
"The U.S. government does not track Americans' movement when they travel around the world," Blinken said. "When Americans visit a foreign country, or if they reside there, we encourage them to enroll with the U.S. Embassy. Whether they do or not is up to them.
Blinken added it is also Americans' responsibility to "de-enroll."
"Again, that's a choice, not a requirement," Blinken added. "Particularly given the security situation in Afghanistan, for many years, we have urged Americans not to travel there. We've repeated asked Americans who are in Afghanistan, to enroll."
Blinken noted the State Department has sent "19 separate messages" since March to Americans enrolled with the Embassy in Kabul "encouraging and then urging them to leave the country."
"We've amplified those direct messages on the State Department website and on social media. We even made clear we would help pay for their repatriation. And we've provided multiple communication channels for Americans to contact us if they're in Afghanistan and want help in leaving."
The State Department has told U.S. citizens trapped behind enemy lines to stop coming to the Kabul airport due to the burgeoning terror threat from militants in and outside of Kabul.
There were also security issues at three specific gates, the Abbey Gate, East Gate, or North Gate, which should be avoided, according to a State Department warning on Twitter.
There are as many as 1,500 identified Americans still looking to actively escape from Afghanistan, according to Blinken.
Evacuees are reporting they had been attacked by the Taliban and prevented from getting to Kabul airport and the State Department warned those not already at airport might have little chance of escape, as Taliban is stopping all Afghan citizens from reaching it.
The Taliban has warned President Joe Biden there will be no extension to the Aug. 31 evacuation deadline, but Blinken told reporters there will remain evacuation efforts beyond that date regardless.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.