In a joint press conference with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, they revealed how the Biden administration cannot promise that all Americans will be evacuated from Afghanistan.
Biden’s secretary of defense cannot promise to evacuate all Americans stuck in Afghanistan
Austin and Milley pledged to evacuate Americans who are trying to flee the war-torn country. However, they refused to assure that all Americans and Afghan allies outside of Kabul will be secured.
Biden officials have been recently reluctant to provide assurance that all Americans who were stuck int he country will be transported, particularly if they are not yet out by the departure deadline set on August 31.
Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on evacuating stranded Americans in Afghanistan:
"We don't have the capability go out and collect up large numbers of people" pic.twitter.com/TwdJuCjm4G
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 18, 2021
Austin, however, claimed that he and the Biden administration remain focused on guarding the Hamid Karzai International Airport. Austin added that there are about 4,500 U.S. military troops that are on duty in the capital, helping with the evacuation.
The secretary of defense also said that so far, no hostile interactions between the Taliban and the U.S. have transpired; Austin confirmed that they are maintaining open communication with the Taliban commanders.
The faith of Americans and Afghan allies stuck outside of Kabul remains unclear
Yet, the faith of the Americans located outside of Kabul remains unclear. Austin likewise refused to state whether Americans and Afghan allies will be able to go through the series of Taliban checkpoints on the way to the international airport. Milley later maintained that no orders were given to them so far in relation to this.
Austin however claimed that they will keep coordinating with the Taliban insurgents to make sure that Americans are given safe passage to go to the international airports. He also noted that these Americans stuck outside of the city center have credentials that could ensure them safe passage. Once these credentials are presented, they will be allowed to pass.
The evacuation of thousands of Americans from Afghanistan relies on the compliance of the Taliban.
Defense secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier the U.S. military doesn’t have the capability to rescue Americans outside of the Kabul airport. https://t.co/ZvSQUvZkZW
— Chad Gilmartin (@ChadGilmartinCA) August 18, 2021
Nevertheless, Biden’s defense secretary admitted the fact that they are far from where they planned to be. However, Austin promised that the administration will save all the people they possible can, until their deadline ends or until they run out of the means to save people.
Milley, on the other hand, addressed the criticism the U.S. government is receiving on not anticipating the fall of Afghan security forces. Milley said they saw no indications that the security forces in Afghanistan could fall within 11 days.
On the other hand, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton built a hotline for Americans who are caught in between the Taliban forces in Afghanistan. According to Cotton, although the situation at present is not good, they will try to do everything within their means to help Americans stay updated and help them be evacuated.
According to reports, there could still be around 15,000 Americans stuck in Afghanistan.