- WH press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on a Fox News reporter who claimed Americans are “stranded” in Afghanistan.
- “I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” she said on Monday.
- The US has evacuated over 37,000 people from Kabul, according to the White House.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki pushed back on Fox News reporter Peter Doocy after he claimed that Americans are “stranded” in Afghanistan during a press briefing on Monday.
“First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” Psaki responded. “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.”
Doocy continued to press Psaki, asking: “There are no Americans stranded is the White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?”
“I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home,” Psaki said. “We are going to bring them home. And I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.”
The tense exchange in the White House briefing room comes as the US faces a looming August 31 deadline to evacuate thousands more Americans and Afghan refugees.
-Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 23, 2021
Since August 14, the US has evacuated more than 37,000 people out of Afghanistan, according to the White House. On Sunday alone, approximately 10,400 people were evacuated, the White House said.
President Joe Biden has considered staying longer in Afghanistan to facilitate the transport of American and Afghan evacuees. The US military has advised him to decide by Tuesday whether to extend the deadline, CNN reported Monday.
A Taliban spokesperson said in Monday interview with Sky News that the US military will face “consequences” if they stay beyond the next eight days. The Taliban captured the capital Kabul on August 15 amid the US’ military withdrawal.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters during the press briefing on Monday that the US believes “we have time between now and August 31st to get out any American who wants to get out.”
Sullivan said the US is in ongoing talks with the Taliban to ensure the safe passage of American and Afghan evacuees.
“We believe we’re making progress, we’re going to keep making progress,” Sullivan said. “And the president will ultimately make his decision about the precise shape and scope of the operation.”