PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After 20 years and more than $1 trillion spent, the war in Afghanistan is over. A grainy night-vision image captured Major General Chris Donahue of the 82nd Airborne Division as he boarded a C-17 cargo plane.
He was the last American servicemember to leave Afghanistan in America’s longest war.READ MORE: 'Most Egregious Story I've Ever Heard': Local Man Has Prostate Removed After Mistaken Cancer Diagnosis
The final troops left Kabul’s airport exactly one minute before President Joe Biden’s deadline for withdrawal.
A former CIA officer, who is from our area, is now working to rescue the last remaining Americans who are still in Afghanistan.
While the U.S. has flown more than 2,000 evacuees out of Afghanistan and here to Philadelphia International Airport since Saturday, it’s believed 100 to 200 Americans are still in Afghanistan and unable to leave.
“As volunteers, we’re using all the resources available to us,” Perry Blatstein said.
Blatstein is a former CIA officer who grew up in Lafayette Hill, Montgomery County. He’s now doing everything he can to get Americans who are still in Afghanistan back to the U.S.
“It’s a 24/7 volunteer effort,” he said.
But there are challenges since flying is not an option.READ MORE: One Of Last Marines To Leave Afghanistan Returns Home To Hero's Welcome In Ridley Township
“But for now, we are looking at what land routes there are to evacuate people out of Afghanistan,” Blatstein said.
As that’s happening, more evacuees from Afghanistan are still arriving at Philadelphia International Airport. They’re coming from countries outside of Afghanistan where they were temporarily taken in order to quickly leave the war-torn nation, says the Philadelphia mayor.
“We expect seven flights today. This could go on for a couple weeks,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Meantime, United States congressmembers from our area toured part of Philadelphia International Tuesday, where the evacuees arrive and get checked in after their long journey from Afghanistan.
“As we understand it, there’s a couple hundred Americans in the country. Whether or not they all intend to leave is a question because we know they’ve been receiving messages urging them to leave for months,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon said.
“Some do want to stay long-term. That said, there are also a number of Americans who do want to leave who have not yet been able,” Blatstein said.
As for those evacuees arriving at PHL, some are going to family members already living in the U.S.MORE NEWS: WATCH: Surveillance Video Catches Olney Drive-By Shooting That Killed 1, Injured 5
There is also a number of programs that help evacuees find housing and jobs and enroll in programs like food stamps.