“If the mission is not complete by Aug. 31 and there are American and Afghan allies who remain there, will U.S. troops stay until everyone is out? Or will they leave?” CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked during a White House press briefing.
“So, I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” Sullivan responded. “I’m going to stay focused on the task at hand, which is getting as many people out as rapidly as possible, and we will take that day-by-day.”
Jiang shot back, “So you can’t commit to bringing back every American?”
“Others tried to pin this down, but Sullivan would not commit to having U.S. troops in Afghanistan past 08/31, even if some Americans and Afghan allies are still trying to leave,” Jiang tweeted after the briefing.
Radio host Dana Loesch was among many who blasted Sullivan on Twitter.
“So we don’t know how many Americans are still trapped in Kabul and the admin won’t ‘comment on hypotheticals’ regarding bringing them back,” Loesch wrote. “DISASTEROUS.”
Many others took to Twitter with thoughts on the comment:
Last month, Biden said troops will be out of Afghanistan sooner than his original Sept. 11 deadline, telling reporters U.S. forces will be home by Aug. 31. Biden’s deadline was set before the Taliban quickly took control of the country. Armed fighters swept into Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul on Sunday, forcing the Afghani president to flee the country while his government collapsed. Scenes of chaos and panic at Kabul’s airport have captured the globe’s attention as the United States’ 20-year military presence in the country ends. Among the Americans in Afghanistan are journalists and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have each called for help rescuing them from the chaos.
“We are thankful that many of our journalists, support staff and their families were able to safely leave Kabul on Tuesday. There are still a great number of journalists who remain, and we are committed to supporting our colleagues as they work to get their staff to safety,” Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee said Tuesday.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.