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Kamala Harris says the U.S. is ‘singularly focused’ on Afghan evacuations

Harris: ‘There is going to be plenty of time to analyse what has happened’ in Afghanistan [File: Patrick T Fallon/AFP]


Kamala Harris says the U.S. is ‘singularly focused’ on Afghan evacuations


According to Vice President Kamala Harris, the United States’ top goal in Afghanistan right now is to evacuate American people, Afghan partners, and vulnerable people following the Taliban’s return to power.

The remarks were delivered during a trip to Singapore, when she pledged support for Asian allies in the face of China.

“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,” Harris said.

“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,” she added.

After a two-hour meeting to address matters ranging from the COVID-19 response to cybersecurity and supply chain collaboration, Harris fielded questions alongside Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The press conference was dominated by Afghanistan after the botched US pullout prompted worries about America’s pledges to its friends across the world.

“We have a responsibility and we feel a deep commitment to making sure that folks who helped us are safe,” Harris continued, adding that a “robust analysis of what happened” should be conducted afterwards.


It’s part of Washington’s broader foreign policy goal of opposing China’s increasing economic and security might.

Harris stated that the Biden administration has completed a successful drawdown of the embassy in Kabul and has already evacuated thousands of individuals, emphasizing that no American deaths have occurred in Afghanistan. At the same time, she acknowledged the ongoing mission’s difficulties.

The Biden administration’s ability to convince important allies of its committment will be put to the test this week.

The Biden administration is under fire for how it handled the US military’s departure from Afghanistan. Last week, the nation descended into turmoil as the civilian government fell apart and the Taliban seized authority. Thousands of people have flocked to the Kabul airport, hoping to flee the country.

Singapore, for its part, has provided transport planes to assist with evacuations, according to Lee.  “We hope Afghanistan does not become an epicentre for terrorism again,” he said.

Harris is visiting Singapore and then Vietnam as part of her second overseas tour since taking office as vice president. During a news conference on Monday, Harris highlighted new ties between the US and Singapore on climate change and cybersecurity.

Prime Minister Lee, on the other hand, expressed Singapore’s support for the US decision to depart, saying the country was “grateful” for the US efforts to battle terrorism in Afghanistan. He also offered the United States the use of Singapore’s cargo planes to assist with the evacuation, and said the government is currently observing what the US does next.

President Joe Biden warned on Sunday that the US has a “long way to go” in the evacuation of Kabul and that “a lot could still go wrong.”

“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful no matter when it started, when we began,” the president stated during a White House news conference. He also stated that “our hope is that we will not have to extend” the date for leaving Afghanistan, which is set for August 31.

While Singapore is not a treaty ally of the United States, it remains one of the country’s most important security partners in the area, with extensive commercial connections, while simultaneously attempting to strike a balance with China.

According to the White House, the US military had evacuated or assisted in the evacuation of about 37,000 individuals from Afghanistan since Aug. 14. The Biden administration has not stated how many remain because authorities are still attempting to figure out how many Americans are still in Afghanistan.

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