Sullivan: Still a chance for Americans to get to Kabul airport
National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said there is “still an opportunity” for American citizens to get to the Kabul airport.
“We believe there’s still an opportunity for American citizens to jump to the airport, get on planes and get home,” Sullivan told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Sullivan added that administration officials believe they have “substantial leverage” over the Taliban to hold the insurgent group to its commitments to allow the safe passage of American citizens, legal permanent residents and Afghan allies from the country.
“We will drill that leverage to the maximum extent, and we will work with the rest of the international community to ensure the Taliban does not falter on these commitments,” he said.
“After Aug. 31, any person in the country who is an American citizen or a legal permanent resident, who is an SIV [Special Immigrant Visa] holder or otherwise, we will work to ensure their safe passage out of the country to the United States,” he added.
Sullivan also told Tapper that the U.S. believes there are 300 or fewer American citizens still in Afghanistan. He said upward of 5,000 citizens have already been pulled from the region, more than 300 of whom were evacuated on Saturday.
The national security adviser’s comments come one day after Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced that the U.S. had begun its final withdrawal of forces from the Kabul airport. The facility has served as a main hub for the U.S. military to evacuate personnel.
As of Sunday, the U.S. has evacuated roughly 114,400 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, according to the White House. Between early Saturday and early Sunday, approximately 2,900 people were evacuated.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.