Klain told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that the administration believes there are “around 100” Americans still in Afghanistan and said he is hopeful that if Qatar resumes air service in and out of Kabul, Afghanistan, in the coming days, Americans might be able to get on those flights.
“We are going to find ways to get them — the ones that want to leave — to get them out of Afghanistan. We know many of them have family members, many of them want to stay, but the ones that want to leave, we’re going to get them out,” he told Bash, echoing President Joe Biden, who said last week that getting Americans out is now a diplomatic mission as opposed to a military one.
“Dana, we — there are all kinds of reports coming in. We’re in close communication with our sources and our contacts in Afghanistan to try to get those SIVs out, to get them out safely,” Klain said, referring to Special Immigrant Visa holders. “We’re gonna continue to work to move those SIVs out of the country.”
There were at least 20,000 SIV applicants in the pipeline prior to the US withdrawal, and the State Department has not provided a specific count of how many of those evacuated from Afghanistan fall into that category.
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger blasted the administration in a separate interview on “State of the Union” Sunday, telling Bash that the failure to fully evacuate all SIV applicants from Afghanistan before the US withdrew troops represents a “shameful moment in America.”
“This is America’s reputation. This is going to last for a long time. It’s going to be a stain on our country,” said Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Illinois congressman also said he hadn’t heard back from the administration after he sent letters to the secretaries of State and Defense asking for specifics on exactly who was evacuated and who wasn’t.
CNN’s Jennifer Hansler contributed to this report.