Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, August 17, 2021
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, August 17, 2021

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everybody. Along these lines, going along with me today is our National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, who will give a report on Afghanistan and afterward take a portion of your inquiries.

Also, with that, I'll give it to Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Jen. What's more, hi, everyone. I will begin with simply an update, as far as the President's commitment today in drawing in with his public safety group, and afterward offer a couple of remarks, extensively, on the circumstance. And afterward I'll be glad to take your inquiries.

Earlier today, the President talked with his tactical officers for a functional instructions on the security at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, generally known as HKAI. He talked with Secretary Austin, Chairman Milley, General McKenzie, Admiral Vasely, and myself. The President was advised that DOD work force have now gotten HKAI, HKAI is open, and U.S. military clearing flights are taking off.

Following this functional instructions with his tactical authorities, the President and the Vice President met by secure videoconference with their public safety group to hear knowledge, security, and conciliatory reports on the developing circumstance in Afghanistan. They examined the situation with progressing departures of U.S. residents, SIV candidates, and other weak Afghans in danger, and how we would do this securely and proficiently and with the laser-focal point of the group on observing for and forestalling any potential psychological oppressor dangers at or around HKAI, including from ISIS-K.

They were joined by Secretary Blinken, Secretary Austin, Chairman Milley, Director Haines, Director Burns, myself, Ambassador Wilson, Ambassador Khalilzad, General McKenzie, and other senior authorities.

Just to say a couple of words regarding where we come from and where we are: I need to begin by showing respect for our soldiers and our regular citizen faculty at the Kabul Airport. I need to recognize the Defense Department, the insight local area, the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and particularly our nation group in Kabul, who have been accomplishing mind blowing work under extremely attempting conditions.

They have securely and successfully drawn down our consulate compound and retrograded our discretionary faculty.

They have now gotten the landing strip and are directing trips out of the country.

They are moving American residents just as Afghan nationals and third-country nationals.

They are working with trips for our partners a lot to get residents and others out of Afghanistan.

These tasks will proceed in the coming days as we move to clear American residents and Afghan nationals who worked with us, alongside other weak Afghans.

We are connecting strategically, simultaneously, with partners and provincial nations and with the United Nations to address the circumstance in Afghanistan.

We are in touch with the Taliban to guarantee the protected entry of individuals to the air terminal.

We are checking for any potential psychological oppressor dangers, as I just referenced, including from ISIS-K.

We plan to proceed with these tasks over the coming days prior to finishing our drawdown.

At the point when you work on any approach issue — homegrown arrangement, international strategy, any approach issue — the human expenses and outcomes pose a potential threat. What's more, we're all fighting with the human expenses of these turns of events. The pictures from the recent days at the air terminal have been lamentable.

In any case, President Biden needed to contemplate the human expenses of the elective way too, which was to remain in a common clash in Afghanistan.

There are the individuals who contend that with 2,500 powers — the quantity of powers in country when President Biden got to work — we might have supported a steady, tranquil Afghanistan. That is just off-base.

The past organization drew down from 15,000 soldiers to 2,500. What's more, even at 15,000, the Afghan government powers were losing ground.

What has unfurled over the previous month has demonstrated unequivocally that it would have taken a huge American troop presence, on different occasions more prominent than what President Biden was given, to stop a Taliban assault.

Furthermore, we would have taken losses. American people would have been battling and kicking the bucket by and by in Afghanistan, and President Biden was not ready to send extra powers or request that any American work force do that over the period ahead.

There have been questions raised about whether we ought to have drawn down our government office and emptied our Afghan partners before. These are sensible inquiries.

We did drastically speed up the SIV cycle and move out a generous number of SIV candidates and their families.

In any case, the Afghan government and its allies, including a considerable lot of individuals presently looking to leave, put forth an enthusiastic defense that we ought not direct a mass departure in case we trigger a deficiency of trust in the public authority. Presently, our flagging help for the public authority clearly didn't save the public authority, however this was a viewed as judgment.

At the point when you close 20 years of military activity in a common conflict in another country with the effects of 20 years of choices that have stacked up, you need to make a ton of hard calls, none with clean results. What you can do is plan for all possibilities. We did that.

The American powers now on the ground at HKAI are there as a result of possibility arranging and penetrating we did throughout months, getting ready for a scope of situations, including desperate situations.

President Biden requested numerous forces to be pre-situated in theater, and he enacted them for organization before the fall of Kabul. He likewise put extra contingents on a short string here in the United States. Those regiments have now streamed in also.

Indeed, there were turbulent scenes yesterday. In any case, as Admiral Kirby said, even very much drawn plans don't endure first contact with the real world and they require changes. Also, we've made those changes.

We will remain in close touch with our partners a lot in the not so distant future as we battle with the prompt need to finish the departure mission and as we manage the more extensive difficulties presented by the new reality in Afghanistan.

Also, we will remain perseveringly cautious against the psychological oppression danger in Afghanistan and in numerous different performance centers across various landmasses.

We have demonstrated in different spots that we can stifle illegal intimidation without a super durable military presence on the ground, and we expect to do precisely that in Afghanistan.

Furthermore, with that, I would be glad to take to take your inquiries.

Indeed.

Q So, I needed to ask — the President yesterday said that the buck stops with him. I need to get a comprehension of what did he mean by — what is he taking responsibility for? The choice to leave Afghanistan, however would he say he is assuming liability for the confusion that occurred during the clearings, for the choices not to do departures sooner? For all — would he say he is assuming liability for that and for any slaughter that might be going on the present moment? It is safe to say that he is assuming liability for that?

MR. SULLIVAN: He's assuming liability for each choice the United States government took regarding Afghanistan, on the grounds that, as he said, the buck stops with him.

I'm likewise assuming liability as are my partners: the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the overseers of our knowledge offices. We, as a public safety group, by and large assume liability for each choice — great choice, each choice that doesn't create amazing results. That is the thing that obligation is.

Presently, while, doesn't change the way that there are different gatherings here capable also who have made moves and choices that aided lead us to where we are. In this way, according to our point of view, what we need to do now is center around the main job, the current mission.

You referenced turmoil at the air terminal yesterday. Toward the day's end, the inquiry is: Can we viably empty those individuals who we plan to clear? Also, that is the thing that we are getting ready for and executing against, starting today — where the air terminal is secure, the flights are going, individuals are coming. Furthermore, we will keep on doing that in the near future.

Indeed.

Q Yeah. What is President Biden's reaction to individuals of Afghanistan who are presently in the possession of the Taliban psychological militants and feel deserted by the United States, or to those in Taiwan and somewhere else that are unfortunate that the U.S. will leave them to the animosity of China?

Furthermore, a development to that is: What is President Biden's reaction to individuals in Israel and different nations who may likewise accept the U.S. will leave them to psychological oppressors?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, to the primary inquiry, President Biden and we all, as I said in my initial remarks, are sorrowful by the human results that have unfurled and could keep on unfurling in Afghanistan.

We accept enthusiastically in basic freedoms and human nobility, and we need to work with the worldwide local area to propel that any place we can.

In any case, President Biden was not ready to have American people proceed to battle and kick the bucket in the common conflict of another country to accomplish that. We will utilize each and every device available to us to accomplish that, and we will do as such for quite a while, after a seemingly endless amount of many months in the period ahead in the interest of individuals of Afghanistan.

To your inquiry regarding partners: We gave 20 years of American blood, fortune, sweat, and tears in Afghanistan. We gave them each limit, as far as preparing and hardware, to battle back for themselves. What's more, eventually, it was the ideal opportunity for the United States to say that the Afghan public needed to go to bat for themselves.

We accept that our responsibilities to our partners a lot are hallowed and consistently have been. We accept our commi

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