Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Wednesday that the State Department was in contact with 500 Americans to advise how they may leave war-torn Afghanistan. This comes as the U.S. approaches President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline to complete the evacuations of U.S. citizens from the country.

At a press conference to provide updates on the state of the plan, Blinken said that there were about 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave the country when the airlift began on Aug. 14. Of this number, he added that 4,500 have already been evacuated safely. He added that his department was in touch with 500 Americans to provide them guidance on how they can reach Kabul international airport to leave Afghanistan.

Blinken also said that another 1,000 or fewer people may or may not be Americans. Inside this number, he could not confirm how many in this group were in Afghanistan or if they had already left.

Since the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15, the Biden administration has been criticized at home and by international allies for its chaotic response to their advance. Biden affirmed that he believed his decision to end America's longest war was the right one in the face of these admonitions. Scenes of terrified Afghans attempting to escape with Americans have become the face of what is considered the young administration’s first foreign policy crisis.

On Tuesday, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the Aug. 31 deadline for completing all evacuations, despite concerns about whether or not that would be possible. Operatives from the Central Intelligence Agency were reported to be assisting Americans stranded further from Kabul to reach the airport while the U.S. military was conducting limited operations to help those stranded in other parts of the capital to escape.

The Taliban has made it clear that they see the administration’s deadline as a “red line” and that they would not be granting any extensions. They have also announced that they would no longer be allowing Afghans to make their way to Kabul’s airport as they work to stop the exodus of those who fear its hardline rule.