Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley outlined the dangerous situation on the ground in Afghanistan, saying US troops are “at risk” and that they need to be the nation’s main focus.
“Today the situation is still very dangerous, very dynamic, and very fluid. And all of us can be proud for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines executing this mission. They are currently in harm’s way. That needs to be our focus,” Milley said at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.
“There will be many postmortems on this topic, but right now is not that time. Right now there are troops at risk. And we are the United States military and we fully intend to successfully evacuate all American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan. All American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan. They are our priority number one,” he continued.
“In addition, we intend to evacuate those who have been supporting us for years and we won’t leave them behind. And we will get out as many as possible. Our troops in Kabul are taking high risk to accomplish that mission. Every minute these troops are on the ground making difficult decisions with incredible skill, incredible bravery, and incredible valor,” he added.
Milley said the security situation at the airport is currently stable, but there are threats and they are being monitored: “We can identify them [the threats], if we identify them, we will take immediate military action without hesitation in accordance with our rules of engagement. And the Taliban and every other organization in that country knows it.”
Remember: Earlier Wednesday, CNN’s Chief International Correspondent, Clarissa Ward, reported that people have been thronging the airport in a bid to flee as countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, try to evacuate their own citizens and some Afghan nationals looking for protection. The Taliban is outside the airport, in charge of crowd control.
“They’ve been whipping people … firing shots in the air, firing shots at people,” Ward said. “Inside the airport, it appears less chaotic because it is having some effect … But, on the perimeter, it is, of course, incredibly intimidating for people who desperately want to leave this country. And they’re fearful that the Taliban won’t even let them pass those checkpoints.”
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Kabul advised American citizens today that the US government cannot ensure safe passage to the airport for those looking to flee the country.