U.S. officials have defended the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, despite the fact that Americans remain in Afghanistan, breaking promises from President Joe Biden.
“We continue our mission to get rid of them. We just moved from military to diplomatic missions,” he said. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday.
“And to ensure that the rest of the American citizens can escape, we have considerable leverage over the Taliban,” he added without explaining the leverage.
The State Department estimates that 100 to 200 Americans are still in Afghanistan.
Biden, who plans to speak in Afghanistan late Tuesday, has promised to evacuate all Americans who want the United States to leave the country on August 20.
But at least some of the remaining Americans in the Taliban-controlled nation said they tried to leave but were unsuccessful.
“The last flight is over and we’re left behind,” a US citizen using Monica told CNN late Monday.
Americans who wanted to leave had to bravely confront the Taliban checkpoints, and some were beaten by militants. In some reports, passage is blocked.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that about 6,000 U.S. citizens were spilled between August 14 and 31, but Afghanistan remains “under 200, probably close to 100.” ..
“We are trying to determine exactly how many. We are looking up the manifest and sending phone calls and text messages via a list. We will share the details as soon as possible. We will determine the exact number. Part of the challenge in doing this is that there are long-time residents of Afghanistan who have American passports and are trying to decide if they want to leave. Many have lived in Afghanistan for many years, A dual-national American with deep roots and an extended family. For many, it’s a tough choice. Our commitment to them and all Americans in Afghanistan and around the world continues, “he says. I did.
General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. told reporters in another briefing.
“None of them arrived at the airport and couldn’t be accommodated,” he said.
U.S. officials have pointed out that the United States has flown or facilitated the evacuation of more than 123,000 civilians from Kabul Airport in 18 days, most of which have described evacuation missions as successful.
But critics say the evacuation efforts were terribly flawed, from their reliance on the Taliban to their failure to stop the bombing that killed 13 US troops.
And they say Biden’s summer withdrawal deadline of 31 August should have been postponed until all Americans were evacuated.
“President Biden told the American people:” If American citizens remain, we will stay to drive them all out. “He did not keep his promise. Hundreds of Americans have been stranded in Afghanistan at the mercy of the Taliban and ISIS-K, “said Mike Rogers, a top Republican member of the House of Representatives Military Commission, in a statement.”
“We have a commander-in-chief who literally left the Americans behind and are now in the hands of the Taliban as hostages,” Jackie Walorski, a Republican, told Newsmax.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked why the withdrawal happened, and on CNN’s “New Day,” the military’s job was to “provide options for the Commander-in-Chief, but make policies. That’s not the case. “
“We haven’t seen a military role in supporting these. These last individuals escape. And, obviously, our job is to provide the president’s choice, I don’t think it’s an option that will be needed now, “he added.
“Biden is the best way to protect our army,” said Sullivan, from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Blinken, all his civilian advisers, all commanders on the ground, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said he had received a unanimous recommendation.And the best way to help those Americans [still in Afghanistan] It was to shift this mission. “
“After all, the question is, if they wanted to escape, did they protect the escaped American citizens? We go out to anyone who wants to go out. I believe in completing that mission, “he added. “And the criticism is not the one who has to sit in the situation room and make a hard call about the threat we are facing and the purpose we are trying to get. President Biden is that hard. I made a call. It’s a call. I believe he will ultimately benefit our people. “