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Nearly 250,000 Afghans still to be airlifted

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Even if American forces continue their current pace of roughly 20,000 evacuations per day — a tall order — the estimates suggest the effort will not come close to rescuing the full group of Afghans who may be eligible to leave before President Biden’s deadline to depart, August 31.

Many Afghan interpreters, advisers and others who worked with the US government or American organisations over the past 20 years and their families are eligible for special visas. And many fear retribution from the Taliban and are desperate to leave.

But precise figures are impossible, as American officials have not said how many remain in the country.

These estimates are based on reports on Afghan employment published annually by the department of defence and analysed by the Association of Wartime Allies, a group that advocates for Afghans affiliated with the US, and researchers at American University.

Other estimates vary widely, from 100,000 to more than 300,000 people.

The group estimated that the number could be far higher, depending on the assumptions used: More than a million Afghans who remain in the country, it found, could be eligible for expedited immigration status.The International Rescue Committee said over 300,000 Afghan civilians have been affiliated with the US mission.


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