White House press secretary Jen Psaki was grilled Tuesday on whether President Biden regrets promising to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until every American citizen is out after he broke that promise by leaving more than a hundred behind Monday.
“We are going to get every American citizen out. That has not changed,” Psaki said during her daily press briefing.
A reporter asked Psaki why Biden allowed his credibility to “go out the door” by making a promise to stay in the country until every American was evacuated.
“Well, first I would say the president remains committed to getting every American citizen who wants to get out, out,” Psaki responded. “That’s an enduring commitment, one that will not change and one we’re going to focus on every single day.”
Psaki cited Thursday’s terrorist attack in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. service members, saying a “risk assessment” determined the withdrawal must be completed by the deadline.
Another reporter later asked Psaki why Americans still in Afghanistan should trust Biden’s commitment to get them out, when he broke his previous vow to get all Americans out before completing the withdrawal. Psaki pointed to the Americans who have already been evacuated in her response.
Earlier in the briefing, Psaki said U.S. leverage over the Taliban includes access to the global marketplace and warned that the radical Islamist group could face sanctions going forward if it fails to live up to international norms.
“We have enormous leverage over the Taliban, including access to the global marketplace,” she said.
“That’s no small piece of leverage. And in order to gain access to the global marketplace, we’re going to be watching closely, as will the global community. I would note that yesterday the U.N. Security Council also signed a passed a resolution that made clear to what the expectation is in terms of safe travel and evacuation or departure, I should say, of individuals who want to leave Afghanistan,” she continued.
“And nearly half of the countries in the world have also signed on to a statement making clear that is the expectation.”
Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during an interview on Aug. 18 that the U.S. military objective in Afghanistan was to get “everyone” out, including Americans and Afghan allies and their families.
“That’s what we’re doing now, that’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there,” he said. “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”
Biden acknowledged during an address to the nation earlier Tuesday that about 100 to 200 Americans are still in Afghanistan “with some intention to leave,” after the last of the U.S. troops left the Kabul airport Monday evening, a day ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline agreed to by the Taliban.