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Today, I had an opportunity to evaluate the situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport and engage with U.S. military leaders on the ground providing security to the airport.
I saw firsthand our defensive lay down and the work our forces are doing to efficiently operate the airfield while ensuring the safe movement of civilians and diplomats who are leaving Kabul.
U.S. military air traffic controllers and ground handlers are rapidly scaling up operations to ensure the smooth flow of military reinforcements to the airport and the evacuation of U.S. and partner civilians in coordination with our State Department colleagues.
Currently, the airfield is secure and now open to civilian air traffic operating under visual flight rules.
In meetings with Taliban senior leaders in Doha on Sunday, I cautioned them against interference in our evacuation, and made it clear to them that any attack would be met with overwhelming force in the defense of our forces.
The protection of U.S. civilians and our partners is my highest priority and we will take all necessary action to ensure a safe and efficient withdrawal.
To that end, we are prepared to fully support U.S. Embassy efforts to process and evacuate U.S. citizens, partners, special visa applicants, and Afghans at risk.
I remain enormously proud of the men and women of our armed forces, who are accomplishing this mission with skill, compassion and professionalism.
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