Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and Maj. General William Taylor hold briefing

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and Maj. General William Taylor hold briefing

>> >>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE THIS MORNING. LIKE YESTERDAY, I WILL PROVIDE AN UPDATE ON THE AFGHAN OPERATIONS AND THEN FOLLOW WITH A SHORT OPERATIONAL UPDATE ON OUR OPERATIONS IN HAITI. UNITED STATES TROOPS MAINTAIN SECURITY AT THE KABUL AIRPORT AND THIS CONTINUES TO ALLOW FOR THE EVACUATION OPERATIONS AND ALLOWING US TO REMAIN TO PROCESS PEOPLE IN TO BE READY TO FLY. AND FOCUS IS CONTINUING TO GET AS MANY PEOPLE OUT AS SAFELY AS POSSIBLE. IN THE PAST 24 HOURS WE EXCEEDED THE PREVIOUS 24 HOUR LIGHT TEMPERATURES AND EVACUATED A NUMBER OF PASSENRS RING THE PREVIOUS DAY’S RECORD. YESTERDAY 42 UNITED STATES MILITARY AIRCRAFT, OF WHICH WERE 37 C-17S AND FIVE C-130s DEPARTED WITH 11,200 PERSONNEL. COMBINED WITH OUR 48 COALITION AND ALLIED PARTNERS WITH THOSE DEPARTURES AN ADDITIONAL 7800 PERSONNEL LEFT KABUL. THAT IS 90 FLIGHTS TOTAL YESTERDAY THAT LEFT THE KABUL AIRPORT. THAT IS ACCOUNTED FOR 19,000 EVACUEES SAFELY OF OF AFGHANISTAN WITHIN A 24 HOUR PERIOD. SINCE THE UNITED STATES AND COALITION FORCES BEGAN THE EVACUATION, APPROXIMATELY 88,000 HAVE SAFELY DEPARTED FROM AFGHANISTAN. EVERY 39 MINUTES YESTERDAY A PLANE DEPARTED KABUL AIRPORT . THESE NUMBERS ARE A TESTAMENT TO THE HARD-WORKING SERVICE MEMBERS CARRYING OUT THIS MISSION. IN COOPERATION WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT, I CAN TELL YOU THERE IS MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE CURRENTLY AT THIS TIME AT THE AIRPORT AWAITING DEPARTURE. THIS IS A SNAPSHOT IN TIME BUT WE WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE AS MORE PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO COME ONTO THE AIRFIELD AND AS FLIGHTS DEPART. IN ORDER FOR THIS TO REMAIN STEADY, WE DEPEND ON THE CAPACITY AND EFFICIENCY OF OUR INTERMEDIATE STAGING BASES AND OF THE SUPPORT AND RELY ON ALLIES AND PARTNERS IN THIS GLOBAL ENDEAVOR. SIX FLIGHTS WILL TRANSPORT AFGHANS FROM GERMANY TO THE UNITED STATES TODAY. IN ADDITION, 2000 MORE WILL ARRIVE IN THIS CASE IN GERMANY RECEIVING 13 FLIGHTS. SINCE AUGUST 20 THE OF ASSISTED APPROXIMATELY 10,000 VULNERABLE AFGHANS FOR TRANSIT TO ONWARD LOCATIONS. YOU WILL LIKELY HEAR MORE DETAILS TODAY AT THE PRESS SCHEDULE WITH MR. KIRBY LATER TODAY. SEVERAL THOUSAND EVACUEES HAVE ARRIVED IN THE UNITED STATES SO FAR AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. IN THE PAST 24 HOURS, FIVE FLIGHTS LANDED AT DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT WITH 1200 PASSENGERS. AS PART OF THIS PROCESS , THEY COMPLETED A METRIC VETTING AND SCREENING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FBI AND CUSTOMS AND BORDER CONTROL STANDARDSDIRECTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. WE ARE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO PROVIDE SAFE, SANITARY, AND APPROPRIATE RECEPTIONS AT PROCESSING OF ALL OF OUR LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. WE KNOW YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR CURRENT TIMELINE AND INTENT FOR DEPARTURE. OUR MISSION REMAINS UNCHANGED. FOR EACH DAY OF THIS OPERATION WE HAVE CARRIED OUT THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT AND SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. UNTIL THAT MISSION CHANGES, WE WILL PUT FORTH THEIR MAMUM AIRP MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WE WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED. I WANT TO GIVE YOU A SHORT UPDATE ON HAITI. THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND OR IN FULL COMMAND OF THE DERAAGEN AND THE BUREAU FOR HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TEAM HAS BEEN ON THE GROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING. WE HAVE BEEN SUPPORTING THEM SINCE THEN. WORKING WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO IDENTIFY POINTS OF NEED. THIS LIFE-SAVING AID IS WHERE THE DOD CAPABILITY INAIRLIFT AND LOGISTICS ARE ENGAGED EACH DAY TO GET THE LIFE-SAVING AID WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE. AS OF LATE LAST EVENING THEY HAVE CONDUCTED 364 MISSIONS WITH THE DOD ASSETS AND UNITED STATES COAST GUARD SAVING 436 LIVES DELIVERING OVER 163 POUNDS OF VITAL AID AS OF YESTERDAY. THANK YOU . >>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY. JUST WANT ONE MORE NOTE AND THEN WE WILL GET TO QUESTIONS. I THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN NOW WE HAVE RELEASED THE SECRETARY’S MEMO WITH RESPECT TO MANDATORY VACCINATIONS FOR COVID-19 HE IS DETERMINED AFTER CAREFUL CONSULTATION WITH MILITARY LEADERSHIP AND OF COURSE WITH E SUORT OF THE PRESIDENT THAT MANDATORY VACCINATIONS AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS IS NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE SAFETY OF OUR SERVICE MEMBERS. MANDATORY VACCINATION WILL ONLY USE COVID-19 VACCINES TO RECEIVE FULL LICENSURE IS FROM THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION COME IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPROVED LABELING AND GUIDANCE. MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED CONSISTENT WITH DOD IMMUNIZATION EXPRESSION 6502, THE EXISTING STRUCTURE AND REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR MANAGING MANDATORY VACCINATION ACROSS THE FORCE. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE EFFORTS TO SECURE SAFETY OF SERVICE MEMBERS AND MAINTAIN READINESS. WITH THAT, WE WILL TAKE QUESTIONS. >> THANK YOU, JOHN. WITH REGARDS TO AFGHANISTAN, I WONDERED IF YOU COULD GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT THE EVACUATION END GAME IS EXPECTED TO LOOK LIKE IN TERMS OF THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS OVER THE LAST THREE OR FIVE DAYS. WILL BE UNED STAT EXCLUSIVE USE OF THE FIELDS IN THE APPARATUS TO EXECUTE THE FINAL FLIGHTS? >> I WILL ASK THE GENERAL TO BE MORE SPECIFIC THAN ME, BOB , BUT WHAT WE ANTICIPATE HAPPENING IN THE LA COUPLE OF DAYS FIRST OF ALL WE WILL CONTINUE TO EVACUATE NEEDED POPULATIONS ALL OF THE WAY TO BE END IF WE HAVE TO AND IF WE NEED TO . IF YOU ARE AN EVACUEE THAT WE CAN GET OUT, WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET YOU OUT UNTIL THE END . IN THOSE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, WE WILL Y TO PRESERVE AS MUCH CAPABILITY AS WE CAN AT THE AIRPORT. IN THOSE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, WE WILL BEGIN TO PRIORITIZE MILITARY CAPABILITIES AND RESOURCES TO MOVE OUT. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IF YOU ARE AN EVACUEE AND YOU NEED TO GET OUT THAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO TRY TO GET YOU OUT. WE WILL HAVE TO RESERVE SOME CAPACITY IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS TO PRIORITIZE THE MILITARY FOOTPRINT LEAVING BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO KEEP IT THERE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE TO DO THE JOB THAT IT IS INTENDED TO DO. >> SO CHARTER FLIGHTS WOULD BE FINISHED EARLIER. WHEN YOU REFER TO MILITARY RESOURCES ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AMERICAN ONLY? BUT PRIMARILY U.S. MILITARY TROOPS AND EQUIPMENT THAT WE ARE NOW AND HAVE BEEN WOING WITH OUR ALLIES AND PARTNERS TO HELP THEM WITHDRAW THEIR PEOPLE AND WILL HELP THEM WITHDRAW THEIR FORCES AS WELL. >> RIGHT TO THE VERY END OR EARLIER ? >> WE WANT TO PRESERVE AS MUCH CAPABILITY AS POSSIBLE AND SOME OF THAT IS NOT OURS. THERE WILL BE A BALANCE. IT WILL BE UP TO THE ADMIRAL AND MAKING SURE HE HAS THE MAXIMUM CAPABILITY FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. THERE WILL BE A TRANSITION TOWARD GETTING MITAR ASSETS I WAS BUT AGAIN WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK THE EVACUATION MISSION UNTIL THE LAST DAY. >> I THINK WHAT I WOULD ADD IN THE ANSWER THAT MR. KIRBY GAVE, THE COMPLEXITY AND THE AMOUNT OF AIRCRAFT WEAVING IN AND OUT . THE CAPABILITY TO CONTINUE TO SEQUENCE AND PLAN FOR THE ACTUAL REQUIREMENTS THAT LEAVE ON A DAILY BASIS WILL BE MADE ON THE GROUND THAT WE HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO MANAGE AND BE ABLE TO PUT THE RIGHT THINGS ON THE AIRCRAFT AS THEY COME IN AND AS THEY LEAVE. >> WHO IS GUARDING THE U.S. EMBAY RIT NOW? WHO WILL GUARD AFTER THE U.S. MILITARY PULLS OUT? DO YOU HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE TALIBAN AND IN TERMS OF THE AIRPORT , DO YOU HAVE AN AGREEMENT TO KEEP THE AIRPORT OPEN AFTER THE U.S. MILITARY PULLS OUT? >> AND OTHERS NOT MILITARY ASSETS GUARDING THE EMBASSY COMPOUND. AS FOR THE TURKS, THEY ARE STILL ON THE GROUND AT THE AIRPORT ASSISTING AND I WILL NOT SPEAK FOR THEIR CONTENTIONS GOING FORWARD, BUT THERE IS NOT GOING TO BE, WHEN THE MISSION IS OVER AND WHEN WE ARE LEAVING THE AIRPORT, THE AIRPORT WILL NOT BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE UNITED STATES ANYMORE. HOW IT GETS MANAGE GOING FORWARD WILL BE SOMETHING THAT THE TALIBAN WHO IS NOW IN KABUL WILL HAVE TO MANAGE ON THEIR OWN AND I ASSUME WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, BUT THAT WILL NOT BE AN AMERICAN RESPONSIBILITY >> HOW MANY INDIVIDUALS ON A TERROR WATCH LIST HAVE BEEN FOUND AT ANY OF THE SCREENING POINTS EITHER IN QATAR , RAMSTEIN AIR BASE , OR IN THE UNITED STATES? >> I DO NOT KNOW BUT WILL HAVE TO GET BACK TO YOU. >> THANK YOU , GENERAL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD AND GOOD JOB. THE AFGHAN PEOPLE ARE HAPPY BUT SOME OF THEM ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A VISA AND THEY HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM. THEY ARE NOT IN KABUL. THEY E HING. THEY MOVED FROM ONE PLACE TO THE OTHER PLACE. THEY MADE CONTACT WITH ME AND MORE THAN 100 CONTACTED ME A DAY AND ASKED WHAT TO DO. I SAID I AM NOBODY TO DO SOMEING. IS THERE ANY PLAN FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT FOR FROM THE PENTAGON BECAUSE THERE UNDER TARGET OF THE TALIBAN, BUT THE TALIBAN GUESS THE SPOKESPERSON HAD SAID THAT IS WHAT THE UNITED STATES MAKES A PROBLEM FOR US THAT WE ARE NOT LOWE TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN AND NOW THEY ARE BACK IN JAIL ON THE OTHER HAND, TALIBAN IS NOT ONE GROUP BUT DIFFERENT GROUPS LIKE FIVE GROUPS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE THERE. THEY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR THOSE REASONS. ANY OTHER OPTION FOR TH BE SAFE? >> I CANNOT SPEAK FOR EACH AND EVERY AFGHAN WHO WANTS TO LEAVE AND IS DEALING WITH THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO GET OUT. WE KNOW THAT THERE IS A LOT OF DESPERATE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LEAVE. THAT IS WHY WE ARE WORKING AS FAST AS WE CAN PRODUCE ARE THE NUMBERS THAT WE CONTINUE TO GET OUT. WE ARE WORKING AS FAST AS WE CAN TO GET OUT AMERICAN CITIZENS AND SPECIAL IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS AND VULNERABLE AFGHANS . WE CONTINUE TO WORK AT THIS. I CANNOT BEGIN TO TRY TO GIVE YOU ADVICE ON WHAT THESE INDIVIDUALS OUGHT TO DO. I WOULD ENCOURAGE THEM TO REACH OUT TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT. FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PENTAGON, WE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN AS FAST AS WE CAN TO MOVE AS MANY PEOPLE AS WE CAN OUT ON ANY GIVEN DAY. I AM NOT ABLE TO, NOW MY ANSWER IS NOT SATISFYING AND I APOLOGIZE FOR THAT, BUT I AM NOT ABLE TO SPEAK TO OUR ABILITY TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH EVERY SINGLE AFGHAN THAT WANTS TO GET OUT . BELIEVE ME. WE ARE MINDFUL AND TRYING THE BEST THAT WE CAN. >> THANK YOU I JUST WANT TO FOLLOW-UP. HE SAID THAT THERE WILL NOT BE A MILITARY PRESENCE GUARDING THE EMBASSY. >> THE EMBASSY COMPOUND. WE ARE NOT OPATING OUT OF IT RIGHT NOW. >> AFTER AUGUST 31, CAN YOU JUST SAY THERE WILL BE NO DIPLOMATIC PRESENCE AFTER AUGUST 31? >> I CANNOT SPK FOR THAT. THAT IS A STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUE. START THERE HAS BEEN REPORTS THAT SOMEBODY AFFILIATED WITH I.S.I.S. GOT ON ONE OF THE FLIGHTS AND WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THAT? >> I HAVE SEEN SIMILAR PRESS REPORTS. I JUST DO NOT VE YTHING TO UPDATE YOU ON THAT. WHAT I SHOULD’VE SAID WAS IT IS A BETTER QUESTION FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY . WE WILL SEE IF WE CAN TRACK DOWN SOMETHING FOR YOU. I AM NOT TRYING TO EVADE IT. WE JUST DO NOT KNOW THATWE ARE DOING THE BEST WE CAN. THERE IS SCREENING BEING DONE BY DHS, IMMIGRATION, AND INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS AND THEY GO ON FOR ONWARD FLIGHTS. WE ARE REALLY FOCUSED ON TRYING TO GET AS MANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS OUT. >> AND ONE LAST ONE. HAVE THERE BEEN ANY ADDITIONAL EXTRACTIONS IN KABUL? HAVE THERE BEEN ANY EFFORTS OUTSIDE OF KABUL TO EXTRACT AMERICANS AND AVERAGE AFGHANS? >> LAST NIGHT THERE WAS AN OPERATION TO SAFELY EVACUATE EVACUEES BACK INTO KABUL. THEY ARE SAFELY PREPARING TO BE EVACUATED. >> WASN’T IN KABUL AND THEY BROUGHT THEM INTO THE AIRPORT? >> IT WAS OUTSIDE OF THE AIRFIELD WE ARE ABLE TO BRING THEM BACK SAFELY. THEY ARE PREPARING FOR EVACUATION TO THE AIRPORT. >> IT WAS INSIDE KABUL. >> WAS AT A HELICOPTER? >> IT WAS. >> CAN YOU TELL US HOW MANY? BUT WE CANNOT PROVIDE SPECIFIC DETAILS. LESS THAN 20. >> CAN I ASK? YESTERDAY IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE WITHDRAWAL HAD ALREADY BEGUN WITH SEVERAL HUNDRED TROOPS ALREADY COMING OUT AND YOU PUSHED BACK ON THAT AND SAID THESE WERE PEOPLE WHOSE FUNCTIONS WERE NO LONGER NEEDED. ALL WITHDRAWALS BEGINS WITH PULLING OUT NONESSENTIAL PERSONNEL FIRST. WHY SHOULDN’T WE VIEW THAT AS CLEARING FOR THE HARD-CORE WITHDRAWAL THAT IS GOING TO COME ? >> THAT IS A GREAT QUESTION. I WASN’T PUSHING BACK ON HEADLINES THAT SAY WITHDRAWAL. I WAS SIMPLY TRYING TO DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED WITHOUT HYPERBOLE. LET ME JUST BACK UP. WHAT HAPPENED WAS THE COMMANDER ON THE GROUND AND TRYING TO MANAGE TIME AND SPACE AT THE AIRPORT DETERMINED IT WAS THE PRUDENT THING TOO TO LET SEVERAL HUNDRED TROOPS LEAVE. SOME OF THESE TROOPS DID COME AND WITH THE TROOPS ADDED FOR THE 5800. SOME OF THEM WERE TROOPS THAT WERE ALREADY THERE BEFORE ANY ADDITIONAL TROOPS FLOWED IN FOR EVACUATION. WE WERE STILL IN THE PROCESS BEFORE THERE WAA NEED. WE WERE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF A DRAWDOWN AT THE AIRPORT UNDER THE PREVIOUS PLAN BY THE D OF THE MONTH. SOME OF THE TROOPS THAT FLEE FROM YESTERDAY WERE IN THAT. THEY WERE VERY MUCH A PART OF THE ORIGINAL DRAWDOWN PLAN. THE ADMIRAL SOFFIT THAT THERE WERE SOME OTHERS THAT HE BELIEVED THAT HE DID NOT NEED AT THE AIRPORT ANYMORE, EVEN TH THESE ARE HEADQUARTERS STAFF PERSONNEL AND OTHER ENABLING FORCES WHO HAD EITHER COMPLETED THEIR MISSION AND WERE ALREADY SCHEDULED TO GO EVEN BEFORE THERE WAS AN EVACUATION AND OTHERS WHO THE ADMIRAL DETERMINED THAT THEIR MISSION WAS COMPLETE AND HE DID NOT NEED THEM ANYMORE. TIME AND SPACE ARE PREMIUM AT THE AIRPORT AND HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE DECISION. THE WITHDRAWAL HAS BEEN GOING ON SINCE APRIL 14 WHEN THE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCED IT. I JUST WANTED TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT WE DO NOT PUSH A BUTTON THAT SAYS GO RETROGRADE NOW THAT WE STILL HAVE ON THE GROUND ABOUT 5400 3050 800 THAT WE REACHED AT THE MAXIMUM. THE ADMIRAL HAS THE AUTHORITY TO MANAGE IN A PRUDENT WAY HIS MANAGEMENT ON THE GROUND THAT HAVE NOT GONE TO THE PHONES I WANT TO MAKE SURE DO NOT FORGET THAT. >> THANK YOU VERY MUCH. FROM TALKING TO MILITARY GROUPS, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE TALIBAN IS STILL BLOCKING AFGHANS FROM GAINING ENTRANCE TO THE AIRPORT. EVEN WHEN AFGHANS MAKE IT ONTO THE AIRPORT, THERE’S BEEN INSTANCES WHERE THEY’VE BEEN ESCORTED OFF DUTY PAPERWORK ISSUES. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT STEPS IS THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TAKING TO MAKE SURE THAT AFGHANS DO HAVE SAFE PASSAGE TO THE AIRPORT AND UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES ARE AFGHANS WITH VALID VISAS ESCORTED OFF OF THE AIRPORT GROUNDS. >> IT IS DIFFICULT FOR US TO ANSWER WHEN WE ARE NOT ON THE GROUND AT THE AIRPORT. AT WILL TELL YOU IS A COUPLE OF THINGS. I RECOGNIZE NO PROCESS IS PERFECT. I AM NOT DISPUTING AT ALL THE ACCOUNT THAT YOU REALLY HERE TODAY THAT THERE COULD BE PROBLEMS. WE CERTAINLY RECOGNIZE THAT. LET ME JUST TAKE A COUPLE STEPS TO TELL YOU HOW THIS IS WORKING. WE HAVE OFFICERS AND THERE IS MORE THAN 30 AT THE AIRPORT, STATIONED AT THE GATES WITH AMERICAN TROOPS WHO ARE HELPING THEM DO THEIR JOB OF PROCESSING INDIVIDUALS AND MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE AND THAT THEY ARE IN A VALID GROUP THAT WE ARE TRYING TO MOVE ON TO THE AIRPORT GROUNDS. OUTSIDE OF THAT THE TALIBAN HAS SET UP CHECKPOINTS AND WE ARE IN DAILY COMMUNICATION WITH TALIBAN COMMANDERS ABOUT WHO WE WANT TO SEE GET IN AND WHAT THE CREDENTIALS LOOK LIKE AND WHAT IS VALID. THAT COMMUNICATION HAPPENS ERY DAY. WE HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT OPEN WITH THE TALIBAN ABOUT WHO WE EXPECT THEM TO LEFT IN. FULLY RECOGNIZING THAT NOT EVERY STEP OF THIS PROCESS IS IN OUR CONTROL. THERE WILL BE INSTANCES WHERE IT DOESN’T WORK . I CAN TELL YOU THERE IS NOT A DAY THAT GOES BY WHERE THE ADMIRAL >>> TARA? >> Reporter: THANK YOU FOR DOING THIS, JOHN. YESTERDAY, THE PRESIDENT MENTIONED ALSO THAT HE WAS CALLING UPON THE DEPARTMENT TO CREATE CONTINGENCY PLANS IN CA AND AFGHANS THAT STILL NEED TO GET OUT HAVE NOT GOTTEN OUT BY THE 31st. JUST KIND OF EXPLAIN WHAT THE DEPARTMENT IS THINKING ABOUT WHAT ITS OPTIONS MIGHT BE TO CONTINUE TO GET AMERICANS OUT AFTER THE 31st? IF THEY HAVEN’T MADE IT TO THE AIRPORT BYTHEN. AND THEN JUST TO FOLLOW ON JEFF’S QUESTION WITH AFGHANS THAT AREN’T GETTING THROUGH, HAVE — DISCUSSIONS GONE ON WITH THE TALIBAN TO MAYBE FIND SOME NEGOTIATION SPACE FOR THEY’VE SAID YOU KNOW NO MORE AFGHANS CAN LEAVE. BUT SOMETHING IS HAPPENING BEHIND THE SCENES THAT’S HELPING SOME PEOPLE GET THROUGH. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT TOO? TO SOME EXTENT. >> I’LL TURN IT OVER TO THE GENERAL. >> I’LL START WITH THAT LAST QUESTION FIRST. AND KIND OF COMES OFF OF SOME THINGS THAT MR. KIRBY JUST SAID. WITH THAT CONSTANT COMMUNICATION. YOU KNOW, I KNOW THE MOST SENIOR COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND ARE OUT AND DISCUSSING WITH THE TALIBAN LEADERS THAT ARE MANNING THESE CHECKPOINTS EXACTLY WHAT THE DOCUMENTATION NEEDS TO LOOK LIKE YOU KNOW, TIMES AND COORDINATION. I MEAN, DETAILS OF THAT. AS WE KNOW THOUGH, THERE ARE REPORTS THAT SOME — THAT AREN’T ABLE DO GET THROUGH THERE. AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE DERTME OF STATE, THE CONSULAR AFFAIRS OFFICERS THAT ARE THERE, ARE WORKING WITH OUR COMMANDERS THERE TO ENSURE THAT DOCUMENTATION, NAMES AND THOSE THINGS, AS OFTEN AS REQUIRED, ARE BEING COMMUNICATED TO THE TALIBAN THAT ARE OUT THOSE CHECKPOINTS TO ALLOW TRANSITION IN THERE TO GET INTO THE GATES. >> AND THEN TARA, ON CONTINGENCY PLANS. OBVIOUSLY I’M NOT GOING TO GET AHEAD OF THE PLANNING PROCESS, WE ARE A PLANNING ORGANIZATION. OUR — ONE OF OUR MAIN JOBS IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS OPTIONS. AND AS HE MADE CLEAR YESTERDAY, HE WANTS TO SEE THIS MISSION COMPLETE BY THE END OF THE MONTH. WE ARE STILL WORKING TOWARDS THAT GOAL. BUT WE WILL BE DRAFTING UP POTENTIAL WHAT WE CALL IN THE MILITARY BRANCHES AND SEQUELS. IF, IN FACT, WE BELIEVE A CONVERSATION NEEDS TO BE HAD LATER ON IN THE MONTH THAT THE TIMELINE MIGHT NEED TO BE TEND. FOR WHAT PURPOSE? TO — FOR WHAT NUMBER? FOR HOW LONG? ALL OF THAT IS BAKED INTO THE PLANNING PROCESS AND I’M JUST NOT GOING TO GET AHEAD OF WHAT THE PLANNERS ARE DOING. COURTNEY? >> TWO FOR YOU, JOHN. SO I’M STILL UNCLEAR ABOUT AT THE VERY END OF IS, THE 30th, 31st WHAT’S GOING TO BE DOING SECURITY AT THE AIRPORT AS THE LAST U.S. TROOPS ARE LEAVING. IS THERE AN AGREEMENT OR IT SOUNDED LIKE YOU REMEMBER SAYING TALIBAN IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SECURITY AS THE LAST AMERICANS WERE LEAVING. >> NO I SAID THE TALIBAN WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING AN AIRPORT IN A CITY IN WHICH THEY ARE NOW THE TITULAR HEADS OF GOVERNMENT. >> RUNNING THE AIRPORT ON SECURITY RIGHT? >> COURTNEY, WHEN WE ARE GONE, THE AIRPORT WILL NO LONGER BE SECURED BY AMERICAN FORCES. HOW, WHAT THAT SECURITY LOOKS LIKE AFTER WE’RE GONE I CAN’T SPEAK TO THAT. >> BEFORE THE U.S. LEAVES THOUGH. WHO WILL BE DOING IT — LET’S SAY THE LAST COUPLE OF AIRCRAFT LEAVE WITH AMERICANS. WHO’S RUNNING SECURITY? KEEPING THOSE AIRCRAFT AND THE RUNWAYS SAFE? >> YEAH, SO YOU ARE ASKING A VERY GOOD TACTICAL QUESTION. RIGHT? SO YOU KNOW, SECURITY, WHICH WOULD CALL YOU KNOW, A COMMANDERS’ INHERENT RESPONSIBILITY THROUGHOUT EVERY PHASE OF THE OPERATION, WE ARE CONTINUING TO SECURE OURSELVES TO THE VERY LAST REQUIREMENT OF THAT. SO WHEN YOU SAY WHO’S SECURING THE YOU KNOW, THE LAST FLIGHT AND ALL THOSE THINGS? AND WE WILL HAVE THAT ABILITY TO SECURE OURSELVES THROUGH YOU KNOW, MULTIPLE MEANS TO ENSURE FLIGHTS ARE ABLE TO TAKE OFF. >> AND THEN WHILE I HAVE YOU UP THERE I WANT TO CLEAR ONE THING THAT YOU JUST SAID. YOU SAID THE MOST SENIOR COMMANDE OUTTHERON THE GROUND ARE OUT THERE AND DISCUSSING THINGS WITH THE TALIBAN. >> I DON’T WANT TO GIVE YOU KNOW, NAMES AND THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON. I WOULD JUST TELL YOU COMMANDERS THAT HAVE AUTHORITY AND ECHELON TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE. AS WE STAID MOST PORTT THING IS TO BE ABLE TO COORDINATE WITH THE TALIBAN TO GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE THROUGH. WE’VE SEEN THERE’S BEEN YOU KNOW REPORTS OF NOT THE RIGHT FOLKS BEING ABLE TO GET THROUGH. SO EVERY DAY WE’RE ENSURING THAT WE CAN GET AS? AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE SO WE CAN FLY THEM TO SAFETY. >> WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TRANSITIONING TOWARDS GETTING MILITARY ASSETS OUT, SO OBVIOUSLY GETTING THE PEOPLE OUT, AMERICAN MILITARY OUT, BUT WILL THERE BE A POINT WHERE YOU WILL HAVE A DECISION OR GENERAL WHOMEVER IT IS. McKENZIE, WILL HAVE A DECISION ABOUT PUTTING PEOPLE ON THESE AIRCRAFT OR PUTTING SOME OF THE EQUIPMENT? ARTILLERY, ALL THE EQUIPMENT THAT’S AT THE MILITARY THERE AND HAS THERE BEEN A DECISION M MILITARY EQUIPMENT? >> LIVES ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE PRIORITY, COURT. PERIOD. BUT AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE END THERE WILL BE SOME EQUIPMENT AND SYSTEMS THAT WE WILL PROBABLY TAKE WITH US AS WE LEAVE. AND THE DISPOSITION OF WHAT WE AREN’T TAKING WITH US, THAT WILL BE UP TO ADMIRAL VASELY TO DETERMINE HOW THAT STUFF IS HANDLED BUT LIVES WILL ALWAYS BE THE CHIEF PRIORITY THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE PROCESS. >> ALL NATIONALITIES LIVES? >> LIVES WILL ALWAYS BE THE PRIORITY THROUGH THE PROCESS. LETS ME GO OVER HERE. >> TWO QUICK QUESTIONS. YESTERDAY YOU PUT OUT A STATEMENT SAYING ABOUT 4,000 AMERICANS HAVE BEEN EVACUATED. >> THAT’S CORRECT. >> IS THERE AN UPDATED NUMBER AND DO YOU HAVE THE SORT OF BASE NUMBER HOW MANY HAVE TO BE EVACUATED NOW? >> IT’S RIGHT NOW TODA NORTH OF 4400. AND I DON’T — I DON’T HAVE A SPECIFIC NUMBER OF TOTAL AMERICANS THAT — THAT ARE STILL IN NEED OF LEAVING. I DON’T HAVE THAT. >> JUST A QUICK FOLLOW UP. DOES SECRETARY AND I GUESS THE DEPARTMENT AT LARGE FIND IT FULL FOR TWO LAWMAKERS TO COME TO KABUL UNANNOUNCED OR WERE YOU GUYS AWARE OF IT? >> WE WERE NOT AWARE OF THIS VISIT. AND WE ARE — OBVIOUSLY NOT ENCOURAGING VIP VISITS TO A VERY TENSE, DANGEROUS AND DYNAMIC SITUATION INSIDE THAT AIRPORT AND INSIDE KABUL GENERALLY. THE SECRETARY I THINK WOULD HAVE APPRECIATED THE OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE HAD A CONVERSATION BEFORE THE VISIT TOOK PLACE. >> JUST HOW DISRUPTIVE WAS IT HAVING THEM THERE? >> THEY GOT A CHANCE TO TALK TO COMMANDERS AS I UNDERSTAND AND THEY GOT A CHANCE TO TALK TO TROOPS. BUT TO SAY THAT THERE WASN’T A NEED TO FLEX AND TO — TO ALTER THE DAY’S FLOW, INCLUDING — INCLUDING YOU KNOW, THE NEED TO HAVE PROTECTION FOR THESE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS, THAT WOULD — YOU KNOW, THAT WOULDN’T BE A GENUINE THING FOR ME TO ASSERT. I MEAN, THERE WAS — THERE WAS CERTAINLY — THERE WAS CERTAINLY A PULL OFF OF THE KINDS OF MISSIONS WE WERE TRYING TO DO TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE THAT VISIT. >> BUT JUST TO BE CLEAR, CONGRESSMAN MOLTON AND CONGRESSMAN MAYIER, THEY TOOK SEATS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR REFUGEES LEAVING AND THEY TOOK TIME AWAY FROM THE MISSION. >> THEY CERTAINLY TOOK TIME AWAY FROM WHAT WE HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO THAT DAY. AND I DON’T KNOW ON THE AIRCRAFT, THEY DID FLY OUT ON A MILITARY AIRCRAFT. I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE SEAT CAPACITY WAS ON THAT AIRCRAFT. BUT THEY ARE — BUT THEY ARE OUT OF THE COUNTRY NOW. BARB? >> JUST ONE MORE QUESTION ON WITHDRAWAL IN THE COMING DAYS. SINCE THE PRESIDENT HAS SAID SETTING CONTINGENCY PLANNING ASIDE, THAT EVERYONE WILL BE OUT BY AUGUST 31S. MY QUESTION IS, DO YOU HAVE IN HAND ALL THE AUTHORITIES, APPROVALS, SIGNED ORDERS, WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO JUST MOVE AHEAD AND CARRY THAT OUT, OR DOES E PRESIDENT. THE SECRETARY GENERAL, GENERAL MILLE. DOES SOMEBODY STILL HAVE TO SIGN AN ORDER TO HAVE THAT FORMAL WITHDRAWAL BEGIN? >> BARB, WITHOUT MAKING IT SOUND LIKE I’M TRYING TO GLOSS OVER YOUR QUESTION, OBVIOUSLY WE ARE TRACKING THE END OF THE MISSION AT THE END OF THE MONTH. AND SO OF COURSE GENERAL McKENZIE HAS RETROGRADE PLANS IN — YOU KNOW, ON THE SHELF AND READY TO GO. BUT I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT — THAT — BEFORE THAT EFFORT IS UNDERTAKEN IN EARNEST, THERE WILL BE A CONVERSATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND SECRETARY AUSTIN WILL HAVE A CHANCE TO PROVIDE HIS GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION WITH RESPECT TO RETROGRADE. AND I THINK I’LL LEAVE IT AT THAT. >> I’M SORRY, I GUESS I DON’ UNDERSTAND BECAUSE THE PRESIDENT MADE THE DECISION TO STICK TO THE DEADLINE OF AUGUST 31st. FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES. >> THAT’S RIGHT. >> AND YOU HAVE THAT FROM THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. SO WHAT IS IT THAT IS — I DON’T GET IT. WHAT IS IT THAT’S STILL NEEDING TO HAPPEN TO HAVE THE FORMAL OFFICIAL WITHDRAWAL BEGIN? >> IN THE PRESIDENT ALSO SAID THAT HE WANTED THE PENTAGON TO COME UP WITH CONTINGENCY PLANS SHOULD THERE BE A NEED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT ALTERING THE TIMELINE. WE ARE TRACKING TOWARDS THE 31st. THERE ARE RETROGRADE PLANS THAT HAVE BEEN DRAFTED UP. AND THE SECRETARY HAS SEEN THEM AND IS AWARE OF THEM. BUT I THINK YOU WOULD EXPECT THAT IN THESE FINAL DAYS, THE SECRETARY WILL WANT TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ISSUE SPECIFIC DIRECTION TO GENERAL McKENZIE ABOUT GOING FORWARD WITH THOSE RETROGRADE PLANS. WE’RE GOING TO TRY AS I SAID, WE ARE — FOCUSED ON THAT DATE. BUT WE ARE ALSO FOCUSED KEENLY ON MAKING SURE WE GET AS MANY PEOPLE OUT, AS FAST AS WE CAN FOR AS LONG AS WE CAN. AND IF THERE HAS TO BE ALTERATIONS TO THAT, THEN OBOUS GOING TO WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT CONVERSATION AND ISSUE HIS GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION TO THE COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND. >> THANK YOU. >> CHRISTINA? >> THANK YOU. CAN YOU CONFIRM THAT NO AMERICANS HAVE BEEN KILLED SINCE AUGUST 14th? AND IF THERE IS Y AMERICAN KILLED, THROUGH AUGUST 31st, HOW WOULD THAT BE ANNOUNCED? >> ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AMERICAN SOLDIERS, TROOPS? >> ANY AMERICAN. >> NO, THERE HAVE BEEN NO U.S. TROOPS KILLED SINCE THE 14th. AND WE ONLY KNOW OF ONE MINOR INJURY. I KNOW OF NO AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO HAVE BEEN KILLED ON THIS. SO I DON’T KNOW OF ANY. NOW WE DON’T HAVE PERFECT VISIBILITY INTO EVERYTHING GOING ON IN KABUL. BUT WE KNOW OF NO AMERICAN CASUALTIES. >> JUST ONE MORE QUESTION. WHEN EXACTLY DOES THE AUGUST 31st DEADLINEAKEFFECT? IS THAT — AUGUST 31st MIDNIGHT? OR IS THAT SEPTEMBER 1st? MIDNIGHT? >> AUGUST 31st. NANCY? >> NEED TO CLARIFY A COUPLE OF POINTS YOU MADE EARLIER FOR ME. YOU MENTIONED AT SOME POINT THE U.S. WILL PRIORITIZE GETTING MILITARY PERSONNEL OUT HALL MID KARZAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND I’M CURIOUS GIVEN THAT. IS THERE A POINT WHERE AFGHAN NATIONALS AND U.S. CITIZENS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO GET INTO THE AIRPORT? THE SUPPOSITION BEING THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO HAVE SOME SORT OF CUTOFF BEFORE YOU COULD THEN FLY EVERYONE — THE FINAL SORT TROOPS OUT AND IF SO WILLS THAT? >> SO I WANT TO GO BACK TO SOMETHING I HAD SAID EARLIER ABOUT AIR FLOW. RIGHT? AND AS YOU HAVE SEEN THE CAPABILITY OVER THE LAST THREE DAYS, YOU KNOW, OVER 90 AIRAFTO SO AND LOT FOCUSED ON EVACUATIONS. SO THE WAY TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION IS, IS THE COMMANDERS, YOU KNOW, WHO WILL GO FORWARD WITH THEIR — THE PLAN OF RETROGRADE, WILL HAVE OPTIONS. YOU KNOW TO MAKE DECISIONS ON THAT A DAILY, SOMETIMES HOURLY BASIS OF WHAT LOADS ARE READY, WHAT AIRCRAFT ARE READY. CAN I PUT SOMETHING ELSE ON THAT BIRD? I MEAN, THAT IS HOW FLUID AND QUITE HONESTLY, WE ARE ABLE TO DO THAT LEVEL PLANNING AND IT GOES BACK TO THE OVERALL YOU KN, MIION HERE IS CONTINUE TO BE ABLE TO GET AS MANY OUT AS POSSIBLE. >> SO I APPRECIATE THAT. I THINK ONE REASON I’M A LITTLE CONFUSED IS IT SEEMS PART OF THIS IS CONTINGENT ON THE TALIBAN AND HOW THEY SECURE THE AREA AROUND THE AIRPORT. WHO THEY LET IN. WHEN THEY LET THEM IN. I THINK ONE THING THAT WOULD HELP UNDETAND IT BETTER IS WHO MAKES THE FINAL DETERMINATION OF SECURITY OUTSIDE THE AIRPORT? YOU MENTIONED THAT THEIR COMMUNICATIONS IS HAPPENING BUT FOR EXAMPLE IF THE U.S. WANTED SOME KIND OF NATIONAL IN AND THAL .DIDN’T WANT TO LET THEM NO, WHAT MAKES THAT DETERMINATION AND HOW IS IT SORTED OUT? >> RIGHT NOW THE AIRFIELD IS SECURE. TO ALLOW FULL OPERATIONS. AND DO NOT ASSESS THAT IN THE — THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE RIGHT NOW. SO THAT’S OUR CURRENT PLANNING. AND WE’LL CONTINUE TO GO FORWARD WITH THAT. >> NANCY, I THINK TO SORT OF REVISIT WHAT I SAID BEFORE, I MEAN, WE ARE — WE’VE BEEN VERY CLEAR WITH TALIBAN LEADERS ABOUT WHAT CREDENTIALS WE WANT THEM TO ACCEPT. REMEMBER, IT’S AMERICAN CITIZENS, IT’S SIV APPLICANTS AND IT’S VULNERABLE AFGHANS. AND WE VE SHARED WHAT THE PROPER CREDENTIALS ARE AND BY AND LARGE, NOT SAYING IT’S BEEN PERFECT. BUT BY AND LARGE, THE PEOPLE THAT WE HAVE MADE CLEAR TO THE TALIBAN THAT WE WANT TO HAVE ACCESS THROUGH THE CHECKPOINTS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET THROUGH. BY AND LARGE. AGAIN, WITH CAVEATS. SO IT HASN’T BEEN A BIG PROBLEM TO DATE. AND AS THE GENERAL SAID EARLIER, I MEAN, WE ALSO HAVE OTHER MEANS TO GO OUT AND GET PEOPLE IN IF WE NEED TO. WE’VE NOW DONE THREE ROTARY WING LIFTS SO WE HAVE THAT OPTION AVAILABLE TO US AS WELL. DID THAT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION? >> I DON’T MEAN TO BE THICK ABOUT THIS. JUST TRYING TO UNDERSTAND HOW THAT COMMUNICATION HAPPENS. LET’S SAY THEY ARE NOT LETTING IN A CERTAIN CREDENTIAL THAT YOU BELIEVE SHOULD BE LET IN. W ISHAT SOLVED? >> GOOD QUESTION AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IS THE COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND WOULD — IF THEY WERE — IF THAT WAS BROUGHT TO THEIR ATTENTION, AND THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I’M NOT — THIS IS NOT NOTIONAL. WHEN WE HAVE REPORTS THAT SOMEDY WHO IS PROPERLY CREDENTIALED IS NOT BEING LET IN OR MAYBE THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS, BUT THEY HAVE PROPER CREDENTIALS. WE ARE MAKING THAT CLEAR TO THE TALIBAN LEADERS THAT NO, THEY ARE APPROPRIATE. YOU DO NEED TO LET THEM IN. AND AGAIN, THERE’S BEEN A LITTLE GE ANTAKEAND IT’S — I THINK IT WAS NAZIRA WHO MENTIONED THIS EARLIER. NOT EVERY CHECKPOINT IS MANNED IN THE SAME WAY AND BY THE SAME INDIVIDUALS AS EVERY OTHER ONE. SO THERE’S VARIANCES AT SOME OF THE CHECKPOINTS IN TERMS OF HOW THE WORD HAS GOTTEN DOWND HOW MUCH THE TALIBAN MANNING THE CHECKPOINTS ARE FOLLOWING THE DICTATES OF THEIR COMMANDERS. SO THAT’S WHY IT’S A CONSTANT COMMUNICATION ON THE GROUND WITH THEM TO KEEP THAT FLOW GOING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. BUT YES, THERE ARE STOPS AND STARTS. THERE ARE HURDLES THAT HAVE TO BE OVERCOME. ALMOST ON ANY GIVEN DAY. BUT REALLY, IT IS — IT’S A CREDIT TO THE COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND THERE THEY ARE CONTINUING TO HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS. NOW DID THAT GET AT IT BETTER? >> AY. ANKS. ALL RIGHT. >> THANK YOU. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. GO AHEAD — [ INAUDIBLE ] THE SUBSEQUENT GOVERNMENT IS OPERATING ON MILITARY AIRCRAFT TRANSFER OPERATION TO RECEIVE THE AFGHANISTAN REFUGEES IN SOUTH KOREA. THEY WILL ARRIVE TOMORROW OKAY? YOU KNOW THAT NORTH KOREA SPONSORS THE TALIBAN. AND WE KNOW THAT IN THE PAST, THOSE TALIBAN, THEY CONDUCTED THE SPECIAL TRAINING TOGETHER. THEN WHAT KIND OF UNITED STATES MONITORING OF NORTH KOREA, WHICH — YOU KNOW, IS THE — POSES A SECURITY THREAT? >> DO YOU WANT TO TAKE IT? >> FIRST OF ALL, AS WE TALK ABOUT THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA’S SUPPORT TO AIR LIFT. AS I SAID EARLIER EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO INCREASE OUR OUTFLOW. YOU KNOW. THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AS YOU KNOW, WE TALK ABOUT NORTH KOREA, AND ALL THAT, YOU KNOW ALL OF THE COMBAT AND COMMAND SPECIFICALLY PAY COM ARE ALWAYS DILIGENT IN YOU KNOW, WATCHING IN THEIR MISSION OF ENSURING YOU KNOW, KEEPING AWARENESS OF ANY TYPE OF THING NORTH KOREA IS DOING. SO ONCE AGAI WE’RE VERY GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL FOR REPUBLIC OF KOREA’S SUPPORT AND HELPING US. >> DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTINGENCY PLANS FOR ANYTHING HAPPENING IN THE KOREAN PENINSULA DURING THIS YOU KNOW- >>INDO PAYCOM’S REMAINS UNCHANGED AND STEADFAST. >> THANK YOU. >> I NEED TO GOTH PHONES AGAIN SOME MORE. TONY? >> HEY JOHN. TWO QUICK QUESTIONS. JEN PSAKI SAID YESTERDAY THIS EVACUATION IS ON TRACK TO BE THE LARGEST IN U.S. HISTORY. THE LARGEST AIR LIFT IN U.S. HISTORY. THE NUMBERS YOU HAVE APPLIED SO FAR, IT’S LIKE 88,000 I THINK YOU HAVE SAID HAVE BEEN EVACUATED. SORRY, ARE YOU PRETTY CONFIDENT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE BE THE OPERATION FREQUENT WIND 1975 SAIGON EVACUATION WHERE 131,000 PEOPLE WERE EVACUATED BY AIR AND SEA? >> WE’RE NOT COMPETING WITH HISTORY, TONY. WE’RE TRYING TO GET AS MANY PEOPLE OUT AS WE CAN. AS FAST AS WE CAN. AND WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE, WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH. BUT THIS ISN’T ABOUT TRYING TO BEAT SOME SORT OF HISTORICAL RECORD. I WILL ONLY ADD THAT YOU KNOW, AT 88,000 IN THE COURSE OF YOU KNOW, JUST A WEEK AND A HALF, IS NO SMALL FEAT. ANYOU VE SEEN LAST THREE DAYS ALONE, EXCEED WHAT WE THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE A MAXIMUM CAPACITY. WE CERTAINLY WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THAT GOING FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. LET ME GO BACK TO THE PHONES AND SYLVIA I’LL GET TO YOU I PROMISE. STEVEN? >> THANK YOU. CAN YOU TELL ME IF ALL SIV HOLDERS WHO HAVE MADE IT ON THE AIRPORT GROUNDS WITH VALID PAPERS ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE IT ON TO FLIGHTS? I ASK BECAUSE AN INTERPRETER WITH AN SIV I’VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH JUST DE IT ON TO THE GROUNDS. AND WAS ALMOST PUT OUT OF THE GATE. THAT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN NOW CORRECTED. BUT WILL THE — WILL THIS INTERPRETER AND OTHER SIV HOLDERS WHO ARE ON THE GROUNDS BE ABLE TO FLY OUT BEFORE THE DEADLINE IS GONE? IS OVER? >> YES. SYLVIA? >> THANK YOU. I HAVE TWO SMALL QUESTIONS. PERHAPS ABOUT THE NUMBERS. YOU SAID THAT 88,000 DEPARTED SINCE THE 14th OF AUGUST. IS IT ONLY U.S. FLIGHT? SO IF IT’S NOT ON THE U.S. FLIGHT, HOW MANY WERE EVACUATED BY U.S. FLIGHTS? THAT’S THE FIRST QUESTION. >> TOTAL NUMBER? >> YES. >> YEAH, RIT AT AROUND 58,000 TO 60,000. >> OKAY. THANK YOU. AND THE SECOND QUESTION WAS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT MENTIONED THE ISIS THREAT AND I WANTED TO KNOW IF YOU RECEIVED NEW THATS. IF — IF YOU — IF THERE WAS AN IMMEDIATE DANGER AT THE GATES. OR IF IT’S A — A THREAT IN GENERAL THAT YOU HAVE KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME. >> YEAH. SO AS WE TALKED ABOUT WE WON’T GO INTO SPECIFIC INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION AND THOSE BEEFS. BUW REPORTED, THERE’S A THREAT. THERE HAS BEEN A DANGEROUS PLACE THAT’S HAD THREATS BY ISIS. AND WE CONTINUE TO ENSURE THAT WE COLLECT AND KEEP THE FORCE PROTECTI TO E HIEST LEVELS POSSIBLE TO ENSURE THAT WE’RE ABLE TO CONTINUE EVACUATION OPERATIONS. >> YOU WON’T CONFIRM NEW THREATS. >> WE’RE NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE INTELLIGENCE SYLVIA, YOU KNOW THAT. THESE ARE — AS THE GENERAL SAID — THESE ARE CREDIBLE THREATS AND WE’RE MINDFUL OF THAT BUT WE’RE NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT IT IN GREAT DETAIL. MEGAN? >> JUST CLARIFY YOUR REMARKS ABOUT THE VACCINE MEMO IS THIS TO SAY THAT THE SECRETARY’S NOT GOING TO REQUEST A WAIVER FROM THE PRESIDENT? AND DOD WILL JUST GIVE VACCINES ON A MANDATORY BASIS AS THEY BECOME FULLY LICENSED? >> THAT’S NOT IT AT ALL. I MEAN, WE HAVE TO SEE WHERE THE OTHER VACCINES END UP. THAT’S NOT — THAT’S NOT AT ALL WHAT I MEANT TO SAY. IT’S JUST THAT THE ONLY ONES THAT WILL BE MADE MANDATORY RIGHT NOW ARE THE — ARE ONES THAT A LICSED BY THE FDA. >> SO BY MID-SEPTEMBER HE MAY ASK FOR THE OTHER ONES. >> I WON’T RULE ANYTHING IN AND OUT. BUT AS THE MEMO SAID, WE’RE ONLY GOING TO MAKE MANDATORY THOSE THAT HAVE FDA LICENSURE AND PRESS REPORTING ALONE WOULD INDICATE THAT YOU KNOW, AT THE OTHER VACCINES ARE GETTING CLOSE. SO. >> ONE MORE QUESTION. >> YEAH SURE. >> YES. HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN U.S. AND TALIBAN? DO YOU THINK THAT PAKISTAN SHOULD PLAY THROUGH TO MAKE A GOOD RELIONSP? BECAUSE AS LONG AS I HEARD FROM TALIBAN SPOKESPERSON, YOU GUYS HAVE NO GOOD RELATIONSHIP. RIGHT? BECAUSE THEY PREVENTED CIVILIANS TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN. DO YOU THINK THAT’S — PAKISTAN — WHICH LER AYED PAKISTAN? >> ALL OF AFGHAN — ALL OF AFGHANISTAN’S NEIGHBORS CAN PLAY A ROLE HERE AND WE HOPE THEY DO. A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN’S FUTURE AND PAKISTAN CERTAINLY I WOULD THINK WOULD FIGURE LARGELY INTO THAT CALCULUS AS WE TALKED ABOUT. THERE’S –HE SAFE HAVENS ACROSS THE — ALONG THAT BORDER REMAN A PROBLEM. WE’VE BEEN VERY HONEST AND CANDID WITH PAKISTANI LEADERS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF NOT ALLOWING THAT AND YOU WOULD WANT TO BELIEVE THAT THEY ALSO SHARE THAT SENSE OF URGENCY BECAUSE THEY TOO ARE THE VICTIMS OF TERRORIST ATTACKS THAT EMANATE FROM THERE. THEY SHOULD AND I SUSPECT THEY WILL WANT TO PLAY A SIGNIFICANT ROLE GOING FORWARD. AND WE WOULD JUST ASK FOR THEM AND FOR ANY COUNTRY, ANY NEIGHBORING COUNTRY TO MAKE THAT AS CONSTRUCTIVE AS POSSIBLE. IN THE BACK THERE. >> THANK YOU. >> WHAT PERCENT OF THE FORCES AREN’T VACCINATED YET AND WHEN WILL THEY HAVE TO BE VACCINATED? >> 68% IS FULLY VACCINATED ON THE ACTIVE DUTY FORCE AND WE ESTIMATE THAT OVER 76% HAVE AT LEAST ONE DOSE. I CAN BREAK THIS DOWN BY THE SERVICES. THIS WOULD INCLUDE GARDEN RESERVES AND THESE FIGURES. FOR THE ARMY 40% FULLY VACCINATED. WITH 57% WITH ONE DOSE. FOR THE MARINE CORPS, 53% FULLY VACCINATED. 60% WITH ONE DOSE. FOR THE NAVY, 73% FULLY VACCINATED, 79% WITH AT LEAST ONE DOSE. AND FOR THE AIR FORCE, ICH INCLUDES SPACE FORCE, THAT’S 57% FULLY VACCINATED AND 64% WITH ONE DOSE. THE SECRETARY HAS MADE CLEAR HIS EXPECTATION TO THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS THAT HE WANTS THEM TO MOVE WITH SOME ALACRITY HERE. AND GET THE FORCE FULLY VACCINATED AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. IF YOU LOOK IN HIS MEMO YOU WILL ALSO SEE THAT HE TASKED THEM TO REGULARLY UPDATE THE DEPUTY SECRETARY ON A VERY FREQUENT BASIS ON HOW THEY’RE MOVING OUT TO ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS. RIGHT NOW, THIS MANDATORY VACCINE WILL JUST BE PFIZER AND THEN WE’LL SEE WHERE IT GOES WITH THE OTHER LICENSURES. >> JOHN, WILL YOU BE MANDATING VACCINES FOR ANY OF THE AFGHAN REFUGEES WHO COME INTO THE UNITED STATES AND ARE BROUGHT HERE BY THE U.S. MILITARY? >> YEAH I’M GOING TO LEAVE THAT QUESTION TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT. BUT THERE IS COVID SCREENING BEING DONE AT CH STOP ALONG THE WAY. AND AGAIN I THINK THAT’S A BETTER QUESTION FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT. >> YOU YOU SAID THAT ANY SIV HOLDERS THAT COME TO THE GATE WOULD BE LET ON TO A FLIGHT. BUT WE’RE JUST GETTING REALTIME REPORTS FROM ABBY GATE THAT RINEARE TURNING AWAY SIV HOLDERS AND TURNING THEM AWAY. CAN YOU CLARIFY ARE MARINES SUPPOSED TO BE TURNING AWAY THOSE WITH SIV PAPERS OR WITH AUTHORIZATION TO COME ON TO THE AIRPORT? HAVE THEY CLOSED DOWN ABBEY GATE. >> LET THE GENERAL TAKE THAT QUESTION. THE QUESTION THAT WAS POSED TO ME BY I THINK IT WAS STEVEN, WAS IF YOU ARE — IF YOU HAVE SIV CRY TORRENTIALS AND YOU ARE AT THE FIELD AND YOU ARE ON THE AIRPORT AND WILL YOU BE ABLE TO GET OFF? AND THE ANSWER IS YES. BUT I’LL LET THE GENERAL TAKE IT. >> OBVIOUSLY I CAN’T SPEAK TO THAT — YOU KNOW, ABSOLUTE REALTIME TO THE SECOND REPORT. THE GUIDANCE STILL REMAINS IS THOSE THAT HAVE THE PROPER PAPERWORK AND ARE SAFELY AT THE GATES IS TO BRING THEM IN AND TO PROCESS THEM. SO I CAN’T SPEAK TO THAT SPECIFIC YOU KNOW, REPORT THERE. BUT WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT WHETHER IT’S OUR MARINES OR SOLDIERS, THAT ARE AT THOSE GATES WORKING WITH THE CONSULAR OFFICERS THAT ARE THERE. AS PEOPLE ARE THERE AND PRESENT THE PROPER SIV PAPERWORK WE’RE TO GET THEM AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE IN AND PROCESS THEM AND FREE EVACUATION FLOWS. >> CAN YOU MAKE SURE THE MESSAGE GETS DOWN TO THE MARINES AT ABBEY GATES? THIS IS A LEGITIMATE REPORT THAT JUST CAME OUT. WE APPRECIATE THOSE REPORTS RIGHT? AND I JUST KNOW AS I HAVE TALKED TO THE COMMANDERS, THEY ARE USING A LOT OF TIME AND IT’S GOOD AND WELL REPORTED TO ENSURE THAT THEY GET THIS INFORMATION AND PUT IT OUT THROUGH THE ENTIRE FORCE. >> AGAIN WITHOUT SPEANG THIS C THE TRAFFIC IS HALTED AT THE GATES TO MANAGE FLOW ON THE AIRPORT. IT IS A PHYSICS ISSUE. BUT AGAIN, I APPRECIATE THAT. AND IF YOU SHARE WITH US AFTER THE BRIEFING THE DETAILS OF THIS, WE WILL CERTAINLY PASS IT . >> ONE MORE VACCINE QUESTION? IS — NOW THAT THERE’S BEEN SEVERAL WEEKS SINCE THE DECISION TO MAKE THIS MANDATORY, WHAT IS THE SECRETARY’S POLICY OR DECISION ON ANY TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO GET THE VACCINE? >> GREAT QUESTION. WHAT THE SECRETARY HAS COMMUNICATED TO THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS IS TO EXECUTE THIS MANDATORY VACCINATION PROGRAM WITH OBVIOUSLY SKILL AND PROFESSIONALISM WHICH WE ALWAYS DO. BUT ALSO WITH A MEASURE OF COMPASSION. AND SO FOR A MEMBER WHO STILL OBJECTS, NOW OBVIOUSLY THERE’S — YOU CAN ASK FOR AN EXEMPTION ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS. AND YOU CERTAINLY COULD BE EXEMPT IF YOU HAVE A PRE- EXISTING CONDITION THAT YOUR DOCTOR ADVISES YOU NOT TO GET IT. OBVIOUSLY. BUT IF IT’S AN OBJECTION OUTSIDE OF THOSE TWO FRAMEWORKS, THE INDIVIDUAL WILL BE OFFERED A CHANCE TO SIT DOWN WITH A PHYSICIAN AND HAVE THAT PHYSICIAN COMMUNICATE TO THEM THE RISKS THAT THEY’RE TAKING BY CONTINUING TO NOT WANT TO TAKE THE VACCINE. THEY WILL ALSO BE OFFERED A CHANCE TO SIT DOWN WITH THEIR CHAIN OF COMMAND AND THEIR LEADERSHIP. TO TALK ABOUT THE RISKS THAT THEIR OBJECTION WILL IMPOSE ON THE UNIT. AND ON THE FORCE. AND ON THEIR TEAMMATES. AND THE POINT IS COURT, THAT THE COMMANDERS HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF TOOLS AVAILABLE TO THEM TO HELP THEIR TEAMMATES MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION FOR THEMSELVES AND FOR THEIR FAMILIES AND FOR THEIR UNITS. AND WE EXPECT AND THE SECRETARY EXPECTS THAT THE COMMANDERS ARE USE THOSE TOOLS SHORT OF HAVING TO USE THE UCMJ. >> IF THE SERVICE MEMBER GOES TO THE COUNSELING AND DOESN’T HAVE A RELIGIOUS OBJECTION, AND STILL OBJECTS AND REFUSES TO GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE, THE INDIVIDUAL WILL BE — BEGIN TO BE PROCESSED? >> THE COMMANDERS HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF TOOLS AVAILABLE TO THEM SHORT OF USING IT AND I THINK WE’RE GOING TO TRUST THE COMMANDERS ARE GOING TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS GOING FORWARD. >> GET AN NJP BASICALLY. >> I CAN’T GIVE YOU AN EXACT ANSWER TO EVERY HYPOTHETICAL SITUATION. ONCE YOU MANDATE IT AS WE’VE DONE, IT’S A LAWFUL ORDER. IT’S A LAWFUL ORDER. AND WE’VE — FULLY ANTICIPATE THAT OUR TROOPS ARE GOING TO FOLLOW LAWFUL ORDERS. AND WHEN YOU RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND AND YOU TAKE THAT OATH, THAT’S WHAT YOU AGREE TO DO. AND IT HASN’T BEEN A PROBLEM IN THE PAST WITH OTHER VACCINES. NOW I RECOGNIZE COVID HAS A — A DIFFERENT HISTORY TO IT. AND A DIFFERENT CULTURAL ASCRIPTION TO IT. BUT IT’S A LAWFUL ORDER. AND IT’S OUR EXPECTATION THAT TROOPS WILL OBEY LAWFUL ORDERS AND WE ALSO EXPECT THAT COMMANDERS WILL HAVE PLENTY OF OTHER TOOLS AVAILABLE TO THEM TO GET THEIR VACCINATION RATES UP AND TO GET THESE INDIVIDUALS TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION SHORT OF HAVING TO USE DISCIPLINARY ACTION. OKAY. I THINK THAT’S ALMOST THE FULL HOUR. SO WE’RE GOING TO CALL IT FOR RIGHT NOW AS THE GENERAL MENTIONED IN HIS OPENING STATEMENT. WE WILL SHOOT FOR AN AFTERNOON BRIEFING. THIS ONE WILL BE WITH GENERAL WALTERS FROM U COMM. SPECIFICALLY ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE DOING. AND SO WE’LL SEE YOU AT 3:00 THIS AFTERNOON. THANK YOU. I BEG YOUR PARDON, 3:30. WE’LL SEE YOU THIS AFTERNOON. 3:30.
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Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and Maj. General William Taylor hold briefing

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