US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) will be welcomed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (R) at the Istana in Singapore on August 23, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – The United States’ primary focus in Afghanistan is currently on evacuating American citizens, Afghan allies and vulnerable groups following the return of the Taliban to power, Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday.
Harris spoke to reporters during a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a previous meeting where the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues – from supply chain issues to climate change to tackling the issues caused by the Pandemic caused global health crisis.
“For now, our focus is solely on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who have worked with us, and vulnerable Afghans, including women and children,” Harris said when asked by a reporter about the US effort in Afghanistan.
“We have a responsibility and a deep obligation to ensure that the people who have helped us are safe,” Harris added, saying there should be “a robust analysis of what happened” later.
Read more about developments in Afghanistan:
The Biden administration is facing increasing criticism of its handling of the US withdrawal efforts that plunged Afghanistan into chaos when the civilian government collapsed and the Taliban took power. Thousands have flooded Kabul airport to flee the country.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden said the US had a “long way to go and a lot could go wrong” in evacuating Kabul.
“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul will be hard and painful, no matter when it started or when we started,” the president said during a press conference at the White House. He also said that “our hope is that we will not have to extend the August 31 deadline for leaving Afghanistan”.
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