The Biden administration is only focused on evacuating Americans and allies from Afghanistan right now. All other questions about the withdrawal and the future of the country are going to be put on the backburner.
Those were the words of Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke at a news conference Monday in Singapore. During the conference, which was attended by Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore, Harris said:
“I think there’s going to be plenty of time to analyze what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“But right now, we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children.”
Reporters wouldn’t let the vice president off the hook without asking her some pressing questions about the situation in Afghanistan, though.
One asked whether Harris was satisfied with how the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is being executed. Right now, America is trying to hurry up and evacuate thousands of Afghans and U.S. citizens from the country after the Taliban swiftly took control.
In typical Harris fashion, she didn’t answer the question directly. Instead, she said there’d be a “robust analysis” of everything that went on in Afghanistan as it relates to the current situation.
” There’s no question there will be and should be a robust analysis of what has happened. But right now, there is no question that our focus has to be on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us and vulnerable Afghans, including women and children. That has to be our primary focus and where we are placing our attention on the issue of Afghanistan.”
At the same time, Harris somehow said that the drawdown at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, was successful. In addition, she said the U.S. was already able to evacuate thousands of people from the country, without any casualties in the process.
She did, however, admit that the “ongoing mission” is proving to be extremely challenging and difficult, as there are still thousands more people that need to be evacuated.
Right now, Harris is in Singapore, and she will next travel to Vietnam in what is her second trip overseas since she became vice president. While in Singapore, she announced that the U.S. has established a new partnership with the country on cybersecurity and climate change.
Those are topics that Harris would have liked to focus on more at the press conference, but it was dominated by questions surrounding Afghanistan.
Harris wasn’t the only one to speak about it, though. Lee also offered thoughts on the situation, saying:
“The U.S. intervention has stopped terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a safe base for 20 years. For this, Singapore is grateful.
“We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicenter for terrorism again. And post Afghanistan, in the longer term, what matters is how the U.S. repositions itself in the Asia Pacific, engages the broader region, and continues the fight against terrorism, because that will determine the perceptions of the countries of the U.S. global priorities and of its strategic intentions.”