Pentagon Doesn't 'Have Whole Number' on Family Members of US Servicemen Remaining in Afghanistan

© AP Photo / Sgt. Justin UpdegraffThis June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan
This June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.11.2021
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President Joe Biden has repeatedly been criticised for the "chaotic" American troop exit from Afghanistan, which wrapped up in late August amid the Taliban's* rapid offensive that led to the militants seizing power in the nation on 15 August.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby has stated that scores of family members of US troops remain in Afghanistan, almost three months after the withdrawal of American forces from the country.
When asked by reporters about the exact "number of immediate family members of US service members in Afghanistan", Kirby said that he did not "have a whole number on that".

"We believe it's certainly most likely in the dozens, but one of the reasons we put the memo out last week was to encourage service members to come forward", Kirby said.

He was apparently referring to a recent US Department of Defence (DOD) memo that urged American servicemen and civilians to provide information about immediate family members who remain in Afghanistan.
© AP Photo / Alex BrandonPentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Washington.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Washington.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.11.2021
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Friday, June 4, 2021, in Washington.
Kirby stressed that the Pentagon is "working [on] this as hard as" it can and that the DOD takes "the obligation seriously to our people and to their families".

"That's why we put the advisory out to the services last week, to give them a place, a portal where they can go to put information on there that we can then share with our State Department colleagues to get them out. We're going to stay at this", he said.

The spokesman also reaffirmed that the mission to withdraw Americans from Afghanistan "is not over", with DOD officials "going to continue to work inside the interagency to do that".
The statement came after the State Department said last week that it has been in touch with 289 Americans who reportedly remain in Afghanistan.
Deputy Secretary for Management Brian McKeon, for his part, told House lawmakers that the number includes 81 who are ready and willing to leave the country in the immediate future.
Members of the Taliban Intelligence Special Forces guard the military airfield in Kabul - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.10.2021
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On 30 August, the Pentagon confirmed that America's nearly 20-year presence in Afghanistan came to a close when the final Boeing C-17 aircraft departed from Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport. Former US President Donald Trump slammed the troop exit as the greatest embarrassment in the nation's history.
The US troop pullout took place amid the Taliban's rapid offensive in Afghanistan, which resulted in the militant group taking over the capital Kabul without a fight and then sezing power in the country on 15 August.
*Organisation under UN sanctions for terrorist activities.
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