Biden Admin Tells Americans In Sudan To Fend For Themselves While Other Countries Evacuate Their Citizens

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Biden administration is telling Americans trapped in Sudan they should not expect to be evacuated with American military help, even while other countries around the world are successfully getting their civilians out of the country.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre previously said it is not standard practice for the U.S. to use military assets to evacuate civilians from war zones. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan echoed that sentiment Monday, saying Americans should not have “broad expectations” for an evacuation. U.S. Embassy staff in Khartoum were evacuated in Chinook helicopters by the U.S. military over the weekend.

Sullivan said the administration is “facilitating” overland evacuations from Khartoum but that there are no troops on the ground in the country.

However, a number of peer countries of the United States are engaging in civilian evacuations. Andrew Mitchell, the U.K.’s Africa Minister, said there is “intense planning” going on for a potential civilian evacuation from the country. Nine Americans were among the 491 civilians who have been evacuated by France so far, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Four German military planes have flown more than 400 people out of the country, AP reported. Roughly 200 people were airlifted out of Khartoum airport by Italian C-130’s. Forty-five Japanese citizens were airlifted from Khartoum by a military transport, according to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The U.S. government estimates there are roughly 16,000 Americans in Sudan, although that estimate is outdated and many of those are dual nationals with roots in the country and not the United States. The true number of U.S. citizens who are in the country with a desire to leave is almost certainly much lower. However, those who are trapped are no longer receiving consular services from embassy staff, the administration has said.

Americans who are in the country have had ample time to leave, the State Department has said. Sudan has long been under a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory level from the State Department, and the administration was urging Americans to leave before it evacuated embassy staff.

But pathways out of the country aren’t clear since the conflict erupted in the past several weeks. Khartoum’s airport is not operational for civilian flights, and the land border to neighboring Chad is closed. The State Department has suggested Americans could leave by crossing the border into Eritrea, itself under a Level 2 travel advisory where Americans are urged to exercise increased caution.

At the same time, the State Department is also telling Americans to shelter in place and not travel via road, making it impossible to escape. (RELATED: Thousands Of Americans Stranded In Sudan Warzone After Embassy Is Evacuated)

Estimates indicate more than 400 people have been killed in the country so far, including one American, in just more than a week of fighting.