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Report finds ‘hundreds’ more Americans tried to leave Afghanistan than Biden admin claimed

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Afghanistan Evac Flight

An investigation has found that more than 800 Americans have fled Afghanistan in the previous year since the horribly botched U.S. military withdrawal. The number is significantly more than the Biden administration had primarily claimed, a State Department spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reports on the investigation:

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Aug. 30 2021, just as the last U.S. aircraft departed the Kabul airport, that the State Department had identified roughly 100 Americans living in Afghanistan who wished to leave. However, a GOP House Foreign Affairs Committee report to be released Monday shows that out of an unknown number of civilians left stranded in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, the U.S. helped hundreds leave, Politico reported, suggesting the Biden administration either underestimated those who would attempt to evacuate or deliberately obscured the actual numbers.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that the U.S. government had “directly supported” the evacuation of 803 U.S. citizens since August of 2021, adding that “individuals in Afghanistan periodically identified themselves as U.S. citizens wanting to depart the country.”

“Whether they had travel documents or whether they could get to Kabul, that was part of that factor,” a committee aide told Politico, referring to the Americans left behind to face increasing danger of directed Taliban violence

Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said the State Department had not complied with the House committee’s investigation. While the White House communicated with the committee about ongoing evacuation efforts, the State Department and the Pentagon have resisted information requests, Politico reported.

“The problem was the White House and State Department put their head in the sand, not wanting to believe what they [the Intelligence Community and the Pentagon] were saying, and therefore not adequately planning,” said McCaul.

In February, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee GOP published a report claiming the U.S. had evacuated 479 Americans out of a total of between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans who were living in Afghanistan as of Aug. 17, 2021.

At least 363 U.S. citizens were communicating with the State Department in October, 176 of whom were attempting to secure a flight out of Afghanistan, CNN reported. Between Aug. 1 and when CNN reported, more than 200 Americans had already been evacuated.

“We did extensive contingency planning throughout the spring and summer of 2021 and pre-positioned troops in the region, which enabled us to facilitate the evacuation of more than 120,000 people,” including those Americans who wished to leave, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a memo Monday.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Environment

Earthquake shakes Turkey and Syria with a rising death toll of 3500 dead

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GettyImages 1463554505 scaled

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria early Monday morning, leaving 3,500 lives lost and many buildings destroyed. There is an ongoing search and rescue mission for survivors, according to reports.

According to Fox News, The World Health Organization (WHO) said the numbers could increase as much as eight times as rescuers work to find more victims. WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, told AFP that, “We always see the same thing with earthquakes, unfortunately, which is that the initial reports of the numbers of people who have died or who have been injured will increase quite significantly in the week that follows.”

As a mixture of rain and snow fell upon the regions of Turkey and Syria that were devastated by the earthquake, citizens ran outside of their homes as they were woken by the violent and thunderous shakes of the earthquake.

The earthquake toppled regions of Syria that were opposition-held due to the continuing civil-war. The conditions in which these citizens lived had lack of access to health care and lived in poor living conditions.

According to a doctor in Atmeh Syria, 11 people were killed with an unknown number of citizens buried underneath the debris from the toppled apartment buildings and other infrastructure.

The quake was so fierce that it could be felt in Cairo Egypt. The center-point  of the quake was located 60 miles from the Syrian border according to Fox News.

Hours later a series of at least 20 aftershock followed the quake. According to Turkish authorities the largest aftershock measured in at a 7.5 magnitude.

On twitter Turkish President, Reccep Tayyip Erdogan said, “We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage.”

The death toll continues to rise in Turkey and Syria.

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