WASHINGTON — The State Department in Afghanistan abandoned more than 500 journalists and their families who were employed by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, said Michael McCaul, senior Republican on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“It is absolutely disgraceful the U.S. State Department claimed they evacuated their local employees when in reality they abandoned hundreds of U.S. Agency for Global Media’s journalists and their families,” he said in a statement on Aug. 31.

“Some of these journalists were given assurances by the Biden Administration that they would be treated as locally employed staff — but were not.”

McCaul said that only 50 staffers from the U.S. media agency were evacuated, thanks to efforts by U.S. allies and not the United States government. The United States Agency for Global Media is a networked global media agency that oversees five US-funded media outlets, including Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

He said that pleas from his office to help one of the journalists, his wife, and infant child have been repeatedly ignored.

“My office was working with one of these journalists and tried for two weeks to get attention brought to his case so he, his wife, and his infant child could be saved – but our pleas were ignored,” said McCaul.

Republican Representative further called on President Joe Biden and the State Department to rapidly find ways to get these people to safety and away from the threats.

“I am calling on the president and the State Department to rapidly find ways to get these people to safety and away from the threats President Biden and Secretary Blinken enabled,” McCaul said.

As per reports, some 250,000 Afghans eligible for expedited U.S. visas remained in the country in August, when American forces could only evacuate about 20,000 daily.

The U.S. completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, ending one of its longest wars. In a matter of few weeks, U.S. and Coalition forces evacuated more than 123,000 civilians out of Afghanistan, and slightly more than 6,000 of them were U.S. citizens.

“Our Operation Allied Rescue [Allies Refuge] ended up getting more than 5,500 Americans out. We got out thousands of citizens and diplomats from those countries that went into Afghanistan with us to get bin Laden,” said Biden in a statement.

“We got out locally employed staff of the United States Embassy and their families, totaling roughly 2,500 people. We got thousands of Afghan translators and interpreters and others who supported the United States, out as well.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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