September 22, 2021

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The United States Conducts Unprecedented Relocation Effort

8 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

I want to thank our allies and partners.  This operation was a global endeavor in every way.  Many countries stepped up with robust contributions to the airlift, including working by our side at the airport.  Some are now serving as transit countries, allowing evacuees to be registered and processed on the way to their final destinations.  Others have agreed to resettle Afghan refugees permanently, and we hope more will do so in the days and weeks ahead.  We are truly grateful for their support.” 

– Secretary Antony J. Blinken, August 31, 2021 

The United States mobilized an unprecedented, global effort through our diplomatic channels to evacuate U.S. citizens, personnel from partner nations, and at-risk Afghans from Kabul.  In total, the United States and our partners relocated more than 124,000 people to safety, including 6,000 U.S. citizens. 

With support from partners and allies, the United States put together a global network – consisting of more than two dozen countries spanning four continents – with total temporary transit capacity of 65,000 people on a rolling basis, including up to 2,000 spaces to accommodate persons that need longer-term processing.   

The United States Leverages a Global Network of Partners

We are grateful to the global network of countries that have provided critical assistance for our evacuation efforts.  

  • Partners and allies – including Bahrain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom – have helped transit Americans or others to safety.     
  • Other countries have made generous offers to help in a variety of ways regarding the relocation efforts for at-risk Afghans.  These countries include Albania, Bahrain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, India, Kuwait, Mexico, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Singapore, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates.   
  • Our temporary transit locations in the Gulf have the capacity to process approximately 37,000 people on a rolling basis, and more than 65,000 people have already been processed through the Gulf, bound for the United States or further processing at European sites.  
  • The temporary transit locations we have established at U.S. or joint bases in Europe have capacity to process at least 28,000 people on a rolling basis.  

The United States Is Working Quickly and With Precision  

  • We are working around the clock to ensure U.S. citizens, at-risk Afghan civilians, and others are able to reach their ultimate destinations safely and efficiently.     
  • Dedicated intelligence, law enforcement, and counterterrorism professionals from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center, and additional Intelligence Community partners, are working around the clock to expedite the processing and vetting of Afghans before they are allowed into the United States. This includes reviews of both biographic and biometric data.    
  • Already nearly 40,000 people have departed overseas processing sites and arrived in the United States. 

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  • Counternarcotics: Treasury Reports Some Results from Designating Drug Kingpins, but Should Improve Information on Agencies’ Expenditures
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), the Department of the Treasury's (Treasury) Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) leads a flexible interagency process to designate and sanction foreign individuals and entities that contribute to illicit narcotics trafficking. OFAC identifies potential Kingpin Act designees, compiles evidence, submits it for legal review, and seeks concurrence from partner agencies on designation decisions. OFAC and U.S. partner agencies monitor and enforce Kingpin Act sanctions, but OFAC has not ensured consistency and transparency of the expenditure data it has reported to Congress. Federal Banking Agencies monitor the OFAC compliance programs of U.S. banks through regular bank examinations. Additionally, OFAC handles enforcement through warnings, monetary penalties, and other methods. As required, OFAC reports annually to Congress on Kingpin Act designations and corresponding agency expenditures, but it has provided limited guidance to partner agencies on expenditure data they report. As a result, agencies use different methods to calculate the personnel and resource costs associated with their Kingpin activities. For example, the Department of Homeland Security said it only reports personnel expenditures when it is the lead investigative agency, but the Department of Defense reports personnel expenditures when it is not the lead. Furthermore, OFAC has not reported the limitations in agency data in its congressional reports. This lack of clear expenditure information could hinder oversight of the Kingpin Act. OFAC officials noted challenges to assessing the overall effectiveness of the Kingpin Act, but they and their U.S. and international partners track and report a range of results. The primary challenge cited is the difficulty of isolating the effect of the Kingpin Act from multiple other programs combating drug trafficking organizations. Results reported by OFAC and its partners include, for example, from 2000-2019, OFAC reported that it had designated more than 2,000 Kingpins and their supporters, and frozen more than half a billion dollars in assets under the act. In addition, host government officials reported that Kingpin Act sanctions assist them in imposing penalties on drug traffickers. Number of Kingpin Act Designations, from 2000 to 2019 Why GAO Did This Study Drug deaths in the United States have been rising for years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 there were over 70,000 U.S. drug overdose deaths. This national emergency results in part from the activities of international narcotics traffickers and their organizations. The Kingpin Act, enacted in 1999, allows Treasury to designate and sanction individuals and entities that contribute to illicit narcotics trafficking. Sanctions and other consequences include blocking a designee's property and assets, denying U.S. travel visas to designees, and penalizing U.S. persons who violate the prohibitions in the Kingpin Act. Treasury is required to submit an annual report to Congress on agencies' Kingpin Act–related personnel and resource expenditures and sanctions activities. This report examines (1) how U.S. agencies designate individuals and entities under the Kingpin Act; (2) the extent to which U.S. agencies monitor, enforce, and report on sanctions under the Kingpin Act; and (3) what agencies have done to assess the effectiveness of the Kingpin Act. GAO reviewed documents from and interviewed officials at Treasury, the Department of State, and other partner agencies. GAO also performed fieldwork in Colombia and Mexico.
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