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News Aug 16, 2021 10:35 PM EST

US State Department says safety of Americans in Afghanistan is 'top priority'

The State Department says “The safety and security of US government employees and US citizens overseas is our top priority.”

US State Department says safety of Americans in Afghanistan is 'top priority'
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio

State Department spokesperson Ned Price outlined the efforts by the Department of Defense being taken to respond to the situation at the Kabul airport.

This comes after a tumultuous weekend that saw the conclusion of the Taliban’s campaign to reconquer the country and thereby hasten the American troop withdrawal ahead of schedule.

After President Biden’s speech on the situation in Afghanistan, the Department of State came in to answer additional follow-up.

“The safety and security of US government employees and US citizens overseas is our top priority,” Ned Price says for his opening.

The State Department spokesperson goes on to say that “US-direct hired” embassy personnel, including the US Ambassador for Afghanistan, had been relocated to Hamid Karzai International Airport where they are “secure.”

In the meantime, the Department of Defense’s primary mission is to secure the scene at Kabul’s airport to ensure that military and commercial flights can resume.

At the time of writing, this is the situation there.

“Now, of course, the situation is evolving quickly, and we will communicate information to US citizens as rapidly as possible,” Price continues.

He then says US Citizens need shelter in place and not travel to the airport until they get the all-clear from the Department of State. Alongside that, dealing with Afghan visa applicants and their families is also ongoing.

Regarding coordination measures on the international community level, it’s pointed out there is a joint statement published in Afghanistan and signed by dozens of countries.

It represents the consensus desired by world leaders. It reads in part:

"Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate, the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country. Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility—and accountability—for the protection of human life and property and the immediate restoration of security and civil order."

This was in addition to other conversations Blinken had on Sunday.

Ned Price rounds off his remarks by pointing out the UN Security Council’s statement calling for the restoration of “security, civil and constitutional order” in Afghanistan. The importance of women’s rights being specified.

“The situation will continue to remain fluid in the coming hours, and likely in the coming days,” the State Department spokesperson says in closing.

US authorities are prioritizing watching the Taliban’s actions rather than relying on the formal spoken agreement.

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