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Tag: afghanistan evacuation

As Tens Of Thousands Evacuate, Fox Reporter Claims Biden Left Americans ‘Stranded’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Peter Doocy, a White House correspondent for Fox News, on Monday accused the Biden administration of leaving Americans in Afghanistan "stranded," even as tens of thousands have been evacuated from the region.

During a White House briefing, Doocy asked press secretary Jen Psaki, "Does the president have the sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan, it's the way that he has ordered it to happen, by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded?"

Psaki responded that she thought it was "irresponsible to say Americans are stranded," noting, "We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home."

Doocy then asked if her reply meant it was the White House's "official position" that "there are no Americans stranded."

She responded, "I'm just calling you out for stating that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan."

Doocy's accusation comes a day after the Department of Defense reported that at least 37,000 people had been evacuated from the region since August 14, with 10,400 of those evacuations happening Saturday and Sunday.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday that the United States is currently executing a plan to transport Americans in Afghanistan to the airport in Kabul for evacuation. U.S. forces have expanded the existing perimeter of the "safe zone" around the airport in order to accomplish the mission, Biden said.

From the Aug. 23 White House press briefing:

PETER DOOCY, Fox News: Does the president have the sense that most of the criticism is not of leaving Afghanistan, it's the way that he has ordered it to happen, by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded? Does he have a sense of that?
JEN PSAKI: First of all, I think it's irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not. 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: There are no Americans stranded is the White House's official position on what's happening in Afghanistan right now?
PSAKI: I'm just calling you out for stating that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when I said – when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home, and I think that's important for the American public to hear and understand.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

U.S. Sending More Consular Officers To Assist Afghanistan Evacuation

By Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The State Department said on Thursday it was sending more consular officers to Kabul and other locations, including Qatar and Kuwait, to help with the evacuation effort from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized Kabul on Sunday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said 6,000 fully processed people were currently at the airport in Kabul and would soon be boarding planes. He added Washington would nearly double the number of consular officers in Kabul, without disclosing how many are deployed.

A source said that White House officials told a congressional briefing on Thursday morning that the United States had evacuated 6,741 individuals, including 1,792 American citizens and legal permanent residents, from Kabul.

The source, who listened to the teleconference, quoted the briefers as saying that the "biggest bottleneck" was getting evacuees through crowds mobbing Kabul airport gates.

"The department is sending consular staffing teams to Qatar and Kuwait to assist with the transit effort and we're preparing teams to surge to other processing locations as well," Price said.

Once the consular capacity in Kabul is doubled, he said the State Department believes it will have the number of officers needed to process individuals and fill flights. The Pentagon has said its aim is to evacuate between 5,000 and 9,000 people a day.

The United States "significantly expanded" overnight the number of American citizens, locally employed staff, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and other vulnerable Afghans eligible for departure, Price said, adding that about 20 flights would leave Kabul on Thursday night.

Thousands of people have desperately tried to get past Taliban roadblocks and U.S. troops to reach the airport. On Thursday, the Taliban urged crowds of Afghans waiting outside it to return home, saying they did not want to hurt anyone, a day after firing at protesters and killing three.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis; Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay; Writing by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Peter Cooney)