The claims by White House press secretary Jen Psaki that Americans are not stranded in Afghanistan was just too much for CNN, who promptly fact-checked and disputed the claim.
During a press conference at the White House on Monday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked whether or not Biden had “a sense” that the scrutiny of the Afghanistan withdrawal is not about leaving Afghanistan, but about how Biden facilitated the withdrawal “by pulling the troops before getting these Americans who are now stranded.”
“Does he have a sense of that?” Doocy questioned.
Psaki reacted by criticizing Doocy.
“I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” she said.
Doocy then questioned Psaki’s remark that “there are no Americans stranded” and if its the “White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now.”
“I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan,” Psaki responded, “when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home. And I think that’s important for the American public to hear and understand.”
CNN Responds To The Latest From Psaki’s ‘Stranded’ Americans
CNN host Jake Tapper disputed Psaki’s statement stating Americans are stranded in Afghanistan is “irresponsible.”
“Look, I understand that people are working long hours in the White House, the National Security Council, State Department, Pentagon and over in Kabul to get Americans out of that country. And I understand the White House wanting to reassure the nation that all Americans will ultimately be evacuated,” Tapper began.
“But there are no doubt Americans who feel stranded in Afghanistan right now,” he added.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann agreed, emphasizing that other agencies in the Biden administration are admitting the same thing:
“Jen Psaki appearing to say that if you want to get out, the U.S. will go to great lengths to get you out. But the Pentagon has acknowledged in a limited number of cases, according to what we’ve heard, that there have been Americans who are having trouble getting through Taliban checkpoints, who are having difficulties and problems getting to Kabul international airport.”
“And that appears to be what she’s not acknowledging here, that there are Americans having issues, limited numbers, the Pentagon says. But it is certainly happening from what we’ve heard here, from what we heard from the defense secretary and the chairman of the joint chiefs briefing members of Congress. Maybe it’s not in great number, but there are problems here even for Americans.”
Psaki’s claims becomes even more puzzling in light of the fact that, as Reuters revealed, the US administration does not even know how many Americans are still in Afghanistan.
The head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), disclosed Monday that the Biden administration is unlikely to remove all Americans and Afghan friends by Biden’s deadline of Aug. 31.
“Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of [Special Immigrant Visas], the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders. It’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” Schiff explained.
“It’s hard for me to see that being complete by the end of the month,” he later added.
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