Where are All the Americans Returning Home from Afghanistan?

President Joe Biden and his team of military, intelligence, and diplomatic advisors oversaw America’s most epic surrender, on the world stage, under the lights and cameras of international media recording it for posterity, spinning the news to mitigate American failure.

One of many failures was the abrupt departure of American military and security forces, necessary to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan allies who placed themselves and their families at great risk by helping the Great Satan against the Taliban, the latter being the new boss, replacing the old boss.

How many Americans were left behind? Official government numbers are all over the map. The military, tasked with evacuating stranded Americans, was vague on the exact number.

US defense officials in charge of evacuating Americans from Kabul claimed on Tuesday morning they would fly 5,000 a day out despite only managing to rescue 1,400 in the three days since the city fell, while as many as 40,000 may remain stranded - some in remote parts of the country.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday morning that between 5,000 and 10,000 are in Kabul, but earlier admitted he had no idea how many there were or where they were. George W. Bush's former Assistant Secretary of State, Robert Charles, says there are between 15,000 and 40,000 'scattered' across all of Afghanistan. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that there were at least 11,000, including American journalists, translators, contractors, aid workers, NGO and government workers.

In other words, the U.S. government has no idea how many Americans remain in Afghanistan. The same government had no trouble rounding up hundreds of “insurrectionists” strolling the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but in a country occupied by American forces for the past two decades, they have no idea how many Americans are in that country, most being paid in some form by the U.S. government, who they are and where they are.

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If it was only President Biden who didn’t know, I would be sympathetic, as he can’t tell his wife from his sister and can’t remember the opening line of one of America’s founding documents. But the rest of Biden’s team? That’s pitiful.

Regardless of the exact number, it is safe to assume that there are many thousands of Americans, perhaps tens of thousands, still in Afghanistan, no longer protected by American soldiers or contractors; instead, at the whims of a fickle and hostile bunch of militant Taliban.

How many have made it back to America? Where are the interviews of returning Americans, telling their stories to Oprah or Ellen, or any of myriad cable news anchors and hosts? Where are the feel-good stories in People Magazine?

What about Oval Office or Rose Garden photos of grateful rescued Americans, posing alongside Biden with their relieved families? Remember President Obama with Bo Bergdahl and family in the Rose Garden? What the Washington Post described as a “sickening spectacle,” showing off a prisoner swap, Bergdahl for five Gitmo terrorists, four of whom are now senior Taliban leaders. Great trade, but Obama wanted the show. Yet no similar Biden show for rescued Americans?

Biden would love such a photo op. He could play the hero, bringing Americans home to safety, with the bonus of a target-rich environment for fondling and hair sniffing of young women and their children. But I have not seen such a ceremony. Why not? Where are the rescued and returning Americans?

A simple Google search speaks volumes. Type something into the search bar and Google predicts what you might be searching for. I typed “Americans returning from” expecting to see Afghanistan as that has been a major news story for the past month. Europe and Canada were the only locations suggested by Google.

Google search screen shot

When I add “Afghanistan” and finish the search, the top hits aren’t talking about jubilant Americans returning home, reunited with their families, thankful to be out of harm’s way.

The first hit was an article from Reuters about a passed bill that will provide resettlement monies to returning Americans. The article notes, “More than 123,000 people, including thousands of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan as the Taliban took control, were evacuated from Kabul in a massive but chaotic airlift by the United States and allies over the past two weeks.”

How interesting. 123,000 evacuated, but only “thousands” were American. Meaning two thousand? Five thousand? Who are all the rest of the evacuees? Were more than a hundred thousand Afghans really helping American efforts over the past years? Have they been vetted? How much resettlement money are these migrants receiving?

The next hit was a rare example of the New York Times practicing actual journalism with a headline, “Stranded in Kabul: A U.S. resident runs out of options.” Some curious journalist could ask one of the State Department, Pentagon, or White House mouthpieces how many Americans are in Afghanistan, as they “run out of options,” as in the six planes with Americans stuck on board, parked at an Afghan airport in what a GOP congressman astutely calls a “hostage situation.”

Stranded Americans are being ignored by the State Department, leaving it to private rescue missions to bring Americans back home. But rather than getting out of the way, the State Department is purposely obstructing private rescue flights. Why is that?

The third hit, from The Intercept, surprisingly snuck past Google’s pro-Democrat search algorithms, with a headline, “U.S. citizen in Afghanistan was desperate to get out – but the State Department never called back.” It appears Foggy Bottom was in Benghazi mode, leaving Americans in danger in foreign lands to fend for themselves.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The return of ‘America Held Hostage.’” CBS News reminded readers, “Uncertainty lingers for Americans trying to leave Afghanistan after U.S. withdrawal.” But no feel-good stories about family reunions for returning Americans. In fact, nothing at all about returning Americans.

In fairness, I did not look at each of the 17 million search results served up by Google, but given the search engine’s pro-Democrat bias, they would have offered favorable stories upfront. This leads me to conclude that these stories may not exist.

Similarly, there were no such stories in Google News. Google images provided only chaotic scenes from the Kabul airport. Same with Google videos. Where are videos similar to what the New York Times must have published under extreme duress a couple of years ago, “Trump greets 3 American detainees freed from North Korea” complete with the Orange Man and his Secretary of State holding court in front of the media, waving and giving themselves attaboys over their successful rescue mission?

As Sundance at The Last Refuge observed,

However, it seems a little odd now that there’s no videos of the survivors of the Afghan crisis arriving at airports.  No crowds or families greeting the extracted American residents; no human-interest stories and local broadcasted news coverage of relieved Americans, husbands, wives, daughters or sons arriving back in their hometown…. nothing.

How many Americans were really rescued and how many are still in Afghanistan, guests, or hostages of the Taliban? Why were a hundred thousand Afghans brought to the U.S., unvetted, but at least given “horse dewormer” ivermectin at the recommendation of the CDC, a drug the CDC refuses to recommend to Americans?

It is awfully suspicious that we have not seen or heard from any rescued Americans, assuming they actually exist. What else aren’t we being told about Biden’s Afghan misadventure?


Brian C. Joondeph, M.D., is a physician and writer. He is on sabbatical from social media.

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