National Security Adviser to the US President Jake Sullivan admitted on Tuesday in the White House that the dramatic scenes at Kabul airport were a sign of chaos and “heart-felt”. He stressed that the United States’ commitments to its allies “remained sacred” and that the timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was consulted by all NATO countries.
During a press conference in the White House, US President’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan answered many questions about the US’s credibility as an ally. “Our commitments to our allies remain sacred, and the timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan has been consulted and approved by all NATO nations,” said President Joe Biden’s top adviser.
He also added that the US is currently helping to evacuate citizens of allied countries and third countries. He also rejected suggestions that Biden’s decision undermines the US commitment to its allies in Europe, South Korea, Israel or Taiwan.
Agreement on the evacuation from Afghanistan
Referring to the situation in Kabul, Sullivan said that the US has made an agreement with the Taliban according to which they are to allow free access of civilians, including Afghan associates of the US forces, to the airport in Kabul.
He added that news reached him, incl. about beating some of the people on their way to the airport, but most of the people get there easily. “We are concerned about these reports and intend to force the Taliban to stick to the deal,” Sullivan said. He did not clearly answer the question whether the evacuation process would take longer than – as initially assumed – until the end of August.
According to the presidential adviser, over the past 20 years the US has made a huge sacrifice to “give Afghanistan a chance,” but when he took power, Biden had only two options: “drastically increase the military presence in Afghanistan, risking the lives of more men and women in uniform,” or complete the process of leaving this country.
Biden’s adviser assured that the US was aware of the risk of Afghanistan being taken over by the Taliban, but did not signal that it should not cause a crisis of confidence in the Afghan authorities and lead to their collapse even faster. – Each decision in this matter was burdened with risks and costs. The president made the decision consciously, Sullivan said.
Sullivan on dramatic scenes in Kabul
He admitted that the dramatic scenes at the Kabul airport were a sign of chaos and “touching the heart”. He added that some of the disorder was inevitable. He stressed that many Americans refused to leave Afghanistan until the last moment.
– When you’re president, you have to make tough decisions, none of which have “clean” results. Even the best plans don’t necessarily work perfectly in reality. We have to adapt and we did it – explained Biden’s advisor. He announced that the White House would analyze the mistakes made in Afghanistan and make it public.
Sullivan said the US is closely monitoring terrorist threats in and around the airport, including from the Islamic State in Afghanistan. He added that the United States had already proved that a military presence on the ground was not necessary to effectively prevent terrorism.
Main photo source: Ken Cedeno / PAP / EPA