The press secretary for the Department of Defense would not disclose how many Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan at a briefing on Monday.
“We’ve been able to evacuate several thousand Americans,” John Kirby said when asked how many had been evacuated. “I’d be reticent to get too more specific than that, but since the 14th, we believe we have been able to evacuate several thousand Americans.”
After being asked if he was deliberately vague about the number of evacuees, Kirby said that he would limit his response to “several thousand” because “the number is very fluid, and it literally changes, nearly by the hour.” (RELATED: ‘Your Death Is Eminent’: Taliban Reportedly Hands Down Death Sentence For Brother Of Afghan Translator)
About 28,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, including 11,000 over the weekend, President Joe Biden said at a news conference on Sunday. It is unclear how many of those evacuated are Americans.
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) August 23, 2021
Biden previously said that U.S. troops would stay in Afghanistan until all Americans were out of the country. “We’re going to do everything in our power to get all Americans out and all our allies out,” he said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday.
Kirby did not address whether there has been U.S.-Taliban communication regarding the August 31st deadline to withdraw all American troops. Taliban spokesperson Dr. Suhail Shaheen said extending the withdrawal date would be a “red line.”
“President Biden announced that on 31 of August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it, that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that,” Shaheen told Sky News. “If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction.”
“We’ve seen the public statements by the Taliban spokesman,” Kirby said Monday. “I think we all understand that view.”
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