150,000 Afghans who helped the US could be stranded after the August 31 deadline, new estimate suggests

Kabul airport crowd
A crowd on the tarmac of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty
  • US evacuation flights from Afghanistan are set to end Tuesday.
  • The US is said to be evacuating people from the capital of Kabul at a rate of 20,000 a day.
  • Based on one estimate, 150,000 Afghans who worked with the US could be left behind.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As many as 150,000 Afghan nationals who helped the US military could be stranded after the end of the month, data from a new estimate published in The New York Times suggests.

The US plans to cease all evacuations from Afghanistan on Tuesday, in line with President Joe Biden’s plan to have all troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said Wednesday that the US hoped to evacuate about 100,000 people by Tuesday.

But The Times cited an analysis of Department of Defense data conducted by the Association of Wartime Allies indicating that at least 250,000 Afghans who helped the US military were still in Afghanistan as of Wednesday. The estimate is based on annual Pentagon reports on Afghan employment, The Times said.

The US is evacuating people at a rate of 20,000 a day, The Times said. At that rate, about 150,000 Afghans eligible for expedited visas would be left behind.

Many of the 250,000 are entitled to Special Immigrant Visas and Priority 2 visas as a result of working with or for the US military in Afghanistan since 2001.

As of 3 a.m. on Thursday, 82,300 people had been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14, the day before the Taliban took Kabul, the White House principal deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, tweeted.

The International Rescue Committee estimated earlier this month that about 300,000 Afghans “have been affiliated with the US mission,” but the Association of Wartime Allies said a top-end estimate indicated as many as a million Afghans could be eligible for the expedited visas.

On Monday, the director of the CIA, William Burns, held a secret meeting with the Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul, The Washington Post reported.

While the CIA has refused to say what the meeting was about, The Post reported it was “likely” to have included talks about Biden’s plans to end evacuations on August 31.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said as many as 1,500 American civilians were still in Afghanistan.