The Pentagon is stepping up efforts to transfer U.S. troops’ families out of Afghanistan and is developing a database of the hundreds who remain.
More than two months after the U.S. military left Afghanistan, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl sent out a memo. It requests that any U.S. military personnel or DOD civilians with immediate family members who require assistance fleeing Afghanistan contact his office via email.
According to the paper acquired by NBC News, military soldiers and civilians in the Defense Department have been directed to email a specific address with the subject “immediate family member,” according to the paper acquired by NBC News. The emails must include the family members’ passports, contact information, and other personal information, along with their names, to be put into the database.
According to Pentagon officials, several dozen immediate family members of U.S. service members remain in Afghanistan. Among them are children, sisters and brothers, and parents. Officials estimate that more than 100 extended family members remain in Afghanistan, but how many of them want to leave is unknown.
According to defense insiders, individual military services recorded cases of U.S. military personnel with family members detained in Afghanistan until now.
The branches will continue their efforts, but according to a defense official, the document reflects “a more purposeful effort at the DOD level” to keep track of how many people are affected. According to the source, great progress has been made in assisting with the deportation of direct family members. “As we make this effort,” the individual added, “there is a stronger desire to ensure that we have every circumstance accounted for,” adding that they are striving to “stretch the reach” to guarantee DOD members and their families receive support.
According to the official, after the information is consolidated, the Pentagon would work with the State Department to retrieve family members who want to leave. According to the individual, the U.S. military will not be involved in getting the migrants out of the nation.
The Pentagon, according to sources, lacks a clear estimate of how many DOD civilians still have close family members in Afghanistan.
Hundreds more evacuees have crossed the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but documentation remains a problem.
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According to defense sources, many of the service members with families remaining in Afghanistan are Afghan-born. In contrast, others worked as interpreters during the conflict before migrating to the United States and enrolling before the U.S. military left.
Members of Congress have asked the Pentagon to do more to help service members with family members in Afghanistan. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, urged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to participate in September in a letter.
“In the last month, hundreds of Texans have called me, trying to get friends and family members out of the country,” he wrote. “This includes relatives of a lot of Texans serving in the military right now.”
“The federal government has given up on them.” “The Taliban would surely slaughter our members’ families in Afghanistan if we abandon them,” he added.