U.S. helping third-country nationals, including Africans, get out of Afghanistan safely, says Biden National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

The United States “is also focused on helping third-country nationals”, including Africans, get out of Afghanistan safely, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at a White House press briefing on Tuesday.

Asked by Today News Africa Simon Ateba what the United States was doing to evacuate “many foreign nationals”, including “many Africans” who also helped the U.S. in Afghanistan during its 20-year-old war there, Mr. Sullvan said, “So, the United States is also focused on helping third-country nationals get out of the country safely.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan holds press briefing to discuss Afghanistan at the White House on Tuesday August 17, 2021. Photo: Simon Ateba 
U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan holds press briefing to discuss Afghanistan at the White House on Tuesday August 17, 2021. Photo: Simon Ateba

Sullivan said President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is monitoring development in Afghanistan closely, and on Tuesday morning, he spoke with his military commanders for an operational briefing on the security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

He said Mr. Biden was told the airport was secure and flights were landing and taking off with Americans and other citizens being evacuated from Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at the same news conference that the airport has been secured following initial scenes of chaos.

She said the focus was to evacuate American citizens, SIV applicants, locally employed staff and journalists from Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds press briefing to discuss Afghanistan at the White House on Tuesday August 17, 2021. Photo: Simon Ateba 
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds press briefing to discuss Afghanistan at the White House on Tuesday August 17, 2021. Photo: Simon Ateba

“Now our focus is on getting planes in and getting American citizens, SIV applicants, our locally employed staff, some of your colleagues out of the country,” Psaki said. “But we did effectively do that, thanks to the hard work of the men and women on the ground from the State Department and the Defense Department over the last 24 to 48 hours.”

A White House official said troops evacuated 1,100 American citizens, U.S. permanent residents and their families from Afghanistan on Tuesday.

So far, about 3200 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan while nearly 2,000 Afghan special immigrants have been relocated to the United States.

“Today, U.S. military flights evacuated approximately 1,100 U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and their families on 13 flights, 12 with C-17 sorties and one with a C-130. Now that we have established the flow, we expect those numbers to escalate,” the official said. “We have evacuated more than 3,200 people so far, including our personnel. In addition to these more than 3,200 total evacuated, we have relocated nearly 2,000 Afghan special immigrants to the United States.”

It is estimated that about 15,000 American citizens or more remain in Afghanistan. It is not clear how many Afghans and third-party nationals would have to be evacuated in total, or how many Africans are in desperate need for help.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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