Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that as many as 1,500 Americans may be awaiting evacuation from Afghanistan, a figure that suggests that part of the U.S.-led airlift from the Taliban-controlled country could be completed before President Joe Biden's Tuesday deadline.
Blinken said the State Department estimates there were about 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan when the airlift began Aug. 14, and that about 4,500 of them have been evacuated so far.
He said about 500 have been contacted with instructions on when and how to get to the chaotic Kabul airport to catch evacuation flights.
In addition, 1,000 or perhaps fewer are being contacted regularly to determine whether they still want to leave. Blinken said some of these may already have left the country, some may want to remain and some may not actually be American citizens.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.