The White House insisted Monday Americans are not “stranded” in Afghanistan, pledging the Biden administration will bring home all Americans who want to return home.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
The comments by press secretary Jen Psaki come as the U.S. military reported its biggest day of evacuation flights out of Afghanistan by far Monday, but deadly violence that has blocked many desperate evacuees from entering Kabul’s airport persisted, and the Taliban signaled they might soon seek to shut down the evacuation.
Twenty-eight U.S. military flights ferried about 10,400 people to safety out of Taliban-held Afghanistan over the 24 hours that ended early Monday morning.
At the White House briefing, Psaki rejected a reporter question that suggested some Americans remain “stranded.”
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” Psaki said. “We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home. We are in touch with them via phone, via text, via email, via any way that we can possibly reach Americans to get them home if they want to return home.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that “the substantial bulk” of those being evacuated are Afghan evacuees because the number of Americans in country was limited to start with.
Sullivan said of the 37,000 people who have been evacuated, “a few thousand” have been Americans.
The national security adviser also said intelligence assessments suggest that al-Qaida currently does not have the capability to attack the United States from Afghanistan.
Sullivan said ISIS poses a bigger threat at the present time and the U.S. can “suppress” the terrorism threat from al-Qaida “without keeping thousands or tens of thousands of troops on the ground in a country.”