White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to answer on Tuesday whether the Biden administration would commit to keeping U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan past August 31, 2021, if there are still American citizens trying to get out of the country.
“I know we all tried to ask Jake this question, but can you offer any guarantee to the Americans and Afghan allies that if they remain there past the end of the month, U.S. troops will help them evacuate past the end of the month?” a reporter asked.
“Our focus right now is on doing the work at hand and on the task at hand,” Psaki responded. “And that is day by day, getting as many American citizens, as many SIV applicants, as many members of vulnerable population who are eligible to be evacuated, to the airport and out on planes.”
“And we’re going to do that in an expeditious fashion,” Psaki continued. “That is the focus of the president of our Secretary of Defense, have our Secretary of State and everybody on our national security team. So that is where we will keep our efforts.”
.@PressSec is asked if U.S. will can guarantee to Americans and allies in Afghanistan that if they remain there past the end of the month, American troops will help them evacuate:
"Our focus right now is on doing the work at hand. pic.twitter.com/LzAwBVQz1r
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 17, 2021
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was asked the same question earlier in the press conference and he refused to answer the question.
“So I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” Sullivan responded. “What I’m going to do is stay focused on the task at hand, which is getting as many people out as rapidly as possible and we will take that day by day.”
“So, you can’t commit to bring back every American … ?” the reporter pressed.
Sullivan did not answer the question and called on another reporter.