Department of Defense press secretary John Kirby seemed to brush off concerns about Americans being left behind in Afghanistan during an MSNBC interview Tuesday morning, saying Americans get stranded in countries “all the time.”
Kirby was asked about as many as 200 Americans stuck in Afghanistan in the wake of the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from that country.
“It’s not completely unlike the way we do it elsewhere around the world,” he responded.
“I mean, we have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time,” Kirby said.
Pentagon Spokesman, today: “We have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time”
Jen Psaki, August 23: “I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not.” pic.twitter.com/syyDJT9P6N
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 31, 2021
At the time, a reporter asked, “‘There are no Americans stranded’ is the White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now?”
Psaki replied, “I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan, when I — 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.”
On Monday, Kirby was asked those left behind in Afghanistan during a Pentagon briefing.
“The State Department is going to continue to work across many different levers to facilitate that transportation. As I said earlier, we do not anticipate a military role in that effort,” he said.
The administration announced Monday that all service members had left Afghanistan. Kirby retweeted a DoD image with the caption, “The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan: Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the @82ndABNDiv.”
The last American soldier to leave Afghanistan: Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the @82ndABNDiv, @18airbornecorps boards an @usairforce C-17 on August 30th, 2021, ending the U.S. mission in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/j5fPx4iv6a
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) August 30, 2021
On Monday, Psaki reported about 6,000 Americans had been evacuated from Afghanistan.
She said “we believe there are still a small number” in the country.
About 6,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, Psaki says, adding, “we believe there are still a small number” left in the country https://t.co/v67Ln0VrSK pic.twitter.com/LZMoetGofp
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) August 30, 2021
A total of 123,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan. Only approximately 5 percent of the people evacuated were Americans.
As many as 50,000 Afghan refugees are slated for housing in American military bases.
“US military installations at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Fort Lee, Virginia, Joint Base McGuire-Dix, Lakehurst, New Jersey, and Fort Bliss, Texas are taking Afghans as they come into the US for further processing,” CNN reported.
On Friday, three additional military bases were added.
“The Department of Defense has authorized two additional military installations in Virginia to house Afghan refugees — Marine Corps Base Quantico and Fort Pickett, a National Guard training center an hour southwest of Richmond,” Military.com reported.
“And Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced Friday that Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, also has been added to the list.”
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