Defense, Military Officials Hold News Conference



Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby and Army Maj. Gen. William D. “Hank” Taylor, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations, brief the media at the Pentagon, August 30, 2021.

Transcript

Good morning military operations in Afghanistan continue with our primary focus on the safety and security of the troops who remain in Kabul. On Sunday U. S. Military forces conducted an unmanned over the horizon. Air strike on a vehicle known to be an imminent ISIS K. Threat. This self-defense strike successfully hit the target near Kabul airport. Significant secondary explosions from the targeted vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material. We are aware of reports of civilian casualties and we take these reports very seriously and we are continuing to assess the situation. Mhm. Separately at approximately 11 p.m. Eastern time last night as many as five rockets were fired at the Kabul airport. U. S. Military forces successfully employed are force protection measures to thwart that attack. U. S. Forces retain the inherent right of self-defense and are authorized to meet threats with a swift and forceful response. Force protection is paramount in this phase of the operation over the weekend and in today evacuation operations continued Yesterday. U.S. military aircraft all see 17s departed with approximately 1200 evacuees. In total, there were 28 flights out of Kabul Airport in the last 24 hours which included the remaining coalition departures. As of today. More than 122,000 including 5000 foreign Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan. U. S. Military troops have shown tremendous bravery and compassion as they put themselves in harm’s way to evacuate. As many American citizens and afghans as possible. During this operation that work by U. S. Service members continues across the globe at a number of intermediate staging bases and D. O. D. Installations in centcom more than 27,000 passengers await follow on movement from six active locations In um three active locations currently have more than 22,000 passengers and today 17 flights will transport about 3700 passengers to both Dulles International Airport with approximately 11 flights and Philadelphia International Airport. With six flights in North com there are nearly 13,000 passengers that remain at five different U. S. Installations. These numbers are a snapshot in time and movement of personnel is very fluid. We do not expect these passenger totals to match the total number of evacuees from Afghanistan nor will they match the total afghans arriving to the United States. The mission of the evacuation operation was to help as many people as possible leave Afghanistan. Some of these evacuees include included American citizens. Third country nationals are afghans whose credentials permitted them to otherwise depart without processing at a military installation. Military civilian contract personnel continue to work closely with both government and non-governmental agencies to meet requirements and provide additional capabilities for families as they continue their transition. While operations in Afghanistan will conclude soon. The diode effort to support the inter-agency is ongoing. Additionally, the Department of Defense continues to support humanitarian relief operations in response to national disasters here closer to home. In Haiti. The US military assets have flown 560 sorties providing rapid logistical and airlift support including delivery of more than 348,000 pounds of eight on the golf course on the gulf coast with Hurricane Ida North com. As of this morning, in coordination with fema and our National Guard has activated more than 5200 personnel in Louisiana, Mississippi Texas and Alabama. In response to the hurricane. They bring a variety of assets including high water vehicles, rotary lift and other transportation transportation capability to support recovery efforts. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is operational in New Orleans and is assessing the storm’s impact. D. O. D. Stands ready to assist as requested by fema. Thank you. Mhm. Okay, I don’t have anything to add. So we’ll go to questions lead to uh general one quick follow up and then a question the Iran’s, did they strike and hit all of the five rockets or did some land in areas where there’s just no casualties. We assess the reporting from last night’s uh rocket attack recess that five rockets were in the air and went three landed off the airfield were no effect and see RAM was able to effect and thwart the attack of one and the other rocket landed with no effect to the mission or any danger to our personnel. And then secondly on evacuees are, does the U. S. And the U. S. Military assess that the number of Americans still in the country are only the ones that no longer want to leave are the ones who want to leave. Are they largely out now? And it’s our understanding that the evacuation of afghans is largely complete also. So are you now solely concentrating on just getting US troops out and equipment? So just going back total, you know, 122,000 were evacuated approximately 5400 Americans. Um we continue to have the capability to evacuate and fly out those until the very end. But as you talk about active peace will continue to work with Department of State uh on that and continue evacuation and military operations. Yeah. To the State Department on on the numbers of Americans they’re still in contact with. That’s that’s something for them to speak to Tara. Um Could you both speak to the continuing rocket threat to the final planes that are leaving and the role of the serum is playing well. The serum be left behind? Or is I mean since it’s so vital to protecting the planes as they’re leaving what will happen to the sea room after it goes. We certainly assess as the general said that there’s a there’s still an active threat uh various ways that we have to be prepared for and what I will tell you without getting into specific systems and uh and their availability which I think you can understand why we wouldn’t uh we continue to have and will maintain the capability to uh protect ourselves and defend ourselves as we continue to complete the retrograde. And I think that’s probably the best place to put it. Just one follow up please. Um, you know, a number of us have gotten reports from either American citizens or vulnerable afghans that are still on the ground and can’t get through the gates anymore. They’ve been getting notices that the evacuation is over. Um, what happens next for those that are left behind? Will there be any sort of military operation to help get them out of the country? I think you heard Secretary Blinken talk about this that for uh, for Americans uh and and other individuals that want to be able to leave Afghanistan after our withdrawal is complete. That the State Department is going to continue to work across many different levers uh, to facilitate that transportation and as I say, I say, as I said earlier right now, we do not anticipate a military role in that effort, john General Taylor, you just said that one rocket landed with no effect to the mission. You mean it landed inside the airport perimeter, It did not affect the mission. It landed inside the perimeter and had no effect whatsoever. These ISIS K fighters or planners that you have targeted with drone strikes in the last few days. Are any of them, were they released from the Bagram prison or from police charki prison, were they known combatants who were inside those prisons? I don’t think we have that information. And lastly, if 50,800 Americans were left in Afghanistan when you pulled out of Bagram at the end of July, why did the U. S. Military not begin evacuations of Americans before pulling out of the country, Jenn, we’ve talked about this quite some quite some time ago. I’m happy to revisit it. Uh, we were already baked into the retrograde plan way back in the spring was the possibility for noncombatant evacuations and helping people get out. And we were in constant uh conversations with the Ghana government as well as our colleagues across the inter-agency about what that would look like. And and when would be the right time to do that. And in anticipation of it. Well before the provincial capital started toppling their towards the middle of august secretary Austin prepositioned forces closer into the region to degree of taking an entire marine battalion off of the USs, Iwo Jima and moving them a short equate so that they will be ready. So, this was something that we had been planning for and preparing for the timing of these things is always very delicate. As you, as you might imagine, you were essentially stopped by the state department from beginning those evacuations, I wouldn’t say that and I don’t think it’s important right now to get into internal deliberations. We were obviously still in close contact with the Ghana government, which was still you know, he was still the president of the country. And you know you you have to have you have to be able to have those conversations to because our expectation was that the Ghana government would stay in place. Nobody could have imagined how quickly that government would have literally just dissipated almost overnight. There was simply no way to predict that Greece. A couple of questions on the gates, are any of the gates still open and or any of the gates under Taliban control? I think it’s right now as we get into the this has always been a dangerous operation but we’re in a particularly dangerous time right now is I think you can understand that we’re not going to be detailing the status of any particular gate right now, as the general said, we still have the ability and the capability to conduct evacuation operations even while we are completing and working to complete the retrograde of U. S. Forces follow up. You’ve now had two incidents, one on Thursday and one on Sunday where there may have been civilian casualties, reports of it beyond investigating. Do you have any indications that those reports may be accurate? We are not in a position to dispute it right now, Idris and as the general said, we’re assessing and we’re investigating, look um make no mistake, no military on the face of the earth works harder to avoid civilian casualties than the United States military. And nobody wants to see innocent life taken. We take it very, very seriously. And uh and when we know that we have caused innocent life to be lost in the conduct of our operations were transparent about it. Uh, we’re investigating this. I’m not going to get ahead of it. But if we have, you know, verifiable information that we did in fact take innocent life here, then then we will will be transparent about that too. Nobody wants to see that happen. But you know what else we didn’t want to see happen. We didn’t want to see happen. What we believe to be a very real, a very specific and a very imminent threat to the Hamid Karzai International airport and to our troops operating at that airport as well as civilians around it. And in it. And that was another thing that we were very, very concerned about over here. David, The president had said that the likelihood of an attack within the next 24-36 hours was highly what, I could. he’d been told that by his military commanders. Then after that there was the strike on this vehicle. After that strike is is another attack still considered highly likely. We are operating under the assumption that we need to be prepared for future potential threats. And as the general detailed for you in his opening statement, there was in fact, after we took this airstrike against this vehicle, there were rocket attacks, indirect fire rocket attacks on the airport. So the threat stream is still real. It’s still active and in many cases it’s still specific and we’re taking it very seriously and we will right up until the end you didn’t specifically answer a question about whether the Taliban you said you weren’t going to talk about who is that what gate look on the Taliban on the airport. Not to my knowledge. They are no. Yeah thank you. Have a few today sorry. You mentioned 122,000 have been evacuated. How many of those R. S. I. V. S. And their families? I don’t have a good breakdown of how many in 122,000 R. S. I. V. S. And their families. That’s really a better question for the State Department. We know that roughly 5400 of the 122,000 are American citizens and uh and the vast majority of course are afghan and I just don’t have a breakdown of that. We are reporting is saying that there are about 7000 of the 88,000. So that leaves more than 80,000 S. I. V. S. And their family members left behind. Does the pentagon see that as a success Leaving 80 people? S lives who worked alongside our troops behind Carl. I can’t verify that number the math you just gave me and I can’t tell you what the breakdown is right now between Um the the more than 100 and what 12,000 maybe more Afghans that were able to evacuate in the course of less than a couple of weeks. I can’t give you the breakdown right now. I just I honestly can’t um and uh what I will tell you is that uh. obviously we wanted to get as many people out uh as we could and in the course of a very short order of time 100 and 22,000 the largest airlift that the U. S. Military has conducted. Uh got 122,000 people to safety. Now there will be a time when this is complete that the State Department can do the math and and and figure this out. But I think we’re all focused right now on continuing the mission that the general described us doing and making sure that right up until the end that we can get people out safely including evacuees. And then secondly we have sources that say marines guarding the airport allowed relatives and extended family members of Kabul embassy local staff despite having not having documentation but meanwhile spouses and Children of afghans who hold American citizenship and legal permanent resident status were turned away in some cases have you heard this as well? And can you confirm that? I have not heard those reports and I cannot verify them. I will tell you that without speaking to these reports. The marines and the soldiers that have for the last couple of weeks been helping consular officers man these gates and help process people in have been did heroic work. Um and they had to make decisions in real time Um about trying to help people get out and the numbers speak for themselves. 122,000 plus. Is that that is that is significant and a lot of lives um were saved and a lot of lives are now in a better place and they’re gonna have opportunities they couldn’t have had before. Thanks to the work that these troops did in concert with their state Department colleagues at these very dangerous gates. One more if I may on not on Afghanistan, Beijing has come out with the new south china sea policy which forces people to self-identify while approaching their self-claimed maritime territories. This policy reportedly goes into effect on Wednesday. Does D. O. D plan on following that policy? I haven’t seen this report Carlos. So I’m not gonna take it from the podium right now. I will do is take the question back and we’ll try to get you a better answer. But you’re hitting me up with a statement from the Chinese that I have not seen and I’m not going to speculate at this time. Zero thank you john there is a question that many of afghan asked me to want me to ask you, they said why President Biden not warning the Taliban that if any of us citizen, our afghan allies are hurt or killed after our departure from Afghanistan. Their leadership will be targeted just like ISIS was targeted recently. Nazeer. I uh thanks for the question. I think the president has been very clear that what our expectations are um, once this retrograde is complete with respect to the safety and security of American citizens, I mean I think we’ve been very clear about that. And uh, and as you heard Secretary Blinken say, we’re going to continue to pursue a variety of means to help those Americans who want to get out after we are gone, get out. Yeah tom uh you talked about flights heading to Dulles and affiliate. Can you give us a sense of how many people are on those flights and the breakdown of afghans in the U. S. I can’t give you the by manifest. So What we think is of today 17 flights 3700. The majority of those are Afghans. Now as a priority at these lily pads that are done are immediately to get the American citizens there first and then you know, other green card holder in those peace. But the majority Of the flights today of those 17 are afghans. I understand the congressional people are being briefed that you’re starting to destroy munitions as well as equipment. Can you give us a sense of that effort at home. You know what I go back to is is commanders on the ground retain that authority and the capability to remove or destroy equipment and weapons to ensure that those don’t fall into the hands of anybody else? Well, we’re going to get an accounting of what has been destroyed, let’s say Blackhawks or other equipment. I think when the time is right, we’ll be able to try to help better flush that out. Time is not right for that right now. Tom for two quick questions. If I may on the strike against the vehicle, do you? The Central Command talked about secondary explosions, I think and that, but you actually have visual evidence that there were secondary explosions. Are you convinced uh, that there were? Because that seems to be one of the potential contributing factors to civilian casualties. So do you, are you, are you certain that were secondary explosions? Yes. Can you just have a follow up on a different part of this? Can you say how you’re sure? No. My other question then, is this as we inevitably come down to the final hours, What advice or thoughts for American passport holders or green card holders who might be trying to get to the airport and get through? Is there still time for them? There is still time And the State Department is in touch, we know with with additional American citizens again, given the tense security environment that we’re dealing with? I think I’m just, I think it be better to just not talk about it much more than that. But they are they’re in contact. There is still time that flights will continue tomorrow on the 31st time. I’m not going to get ahead of the actual operational schedule. Courtney, I’m not gonna do that. And then a little bit more on the the continuing strike from ISIS K. After the U. S. Is completely out on the 31st. Will you coordinate with the Taliban or give them notice if you plan to conduct more strikes against ISIS? I don’t think it’s useful to get into hypothetical operations, future operations one way or the other. The only thing I would tell you is that the president has made it very clear That we will maintain robust over the rising counterterrorism capability, the kinds of capabilities that you’ve seen us use in just the last 24 36 hours and we’ll have the ability to uh act in ways that are in keeping with our national security interest and help prevent attacks on the homeland. We still have that capability. We will use that capability hypothetical is the fact that the U. S. Military has been coordinating with the Taliban on the ground for the last two weeks or so. So it’s so to ask if you were going to continue coordinating with them in this case against ISIS K. Isn’t hypothetical, will you continue to coordinate with the Taliban after august 31st. I beg to differ. I actually think your question is entirely hypothetical about something that is entirely different than what we’ve been coordinating with the Taliban on over the last two weeks, which has been to help help us get as many people on to that airport as possible. I do appreciate the sense of the question. I’m not trying to market, it’s just that I don’t think it’s helpful for us to talk about what over the horizon counterterrorism capability is going to look like going forward and how we’re going to execute it. Suffice it to say we have the capability, we’ve demonstrated that over just the last couple of days and strikes that were not coordinated with the Taliban and we have that ability to go forward. And then does the U. S. There’s a pentagon or ST common whomever it would be, Have the authority to continue to conduct strikes against ISIS after August 31 or do those decisions have to go to the president on a case-by-case basis. The commander, the commander on the ground has the authorities he needs right now. I’m not going to talk about authorities going forward. I will say this, not in terms of I know what you’re asking, you know, specific approval authority for each and every strike. I I won’t talk about policy decisions going forward except to say that the entire interagency? Certainly the entire military chain of command understands the the the existence of this threat uh and the possibility of this threat uh to continue to exist over time and we have the capability to deal with it louis um in talking following up on these contacts with the Taliban, have there been contacts with the Taliban about the US withdrawal? It’s going to be taking place right now and over the coming days to ensure that there are no misinterpretations of what’s going on. The short answer to your question is yes. Without getting into detail, our commanders on the ground remain in communication with Taliban leaders around the airfield to deconflict and to prevent miscalculations and misunderstandings and so far that communication has been effective applies to the withdrawal. That’s going on right now. It does Nancy you about to follow to address his questions. In the initial readout from Centcom on the strike over the weekend on the car bomb and the suspects in the U. S. Said that initially the initial assessment was there were no civilian casualties. On what basis did the US make that assessment? Uh The initial statement said that we are assessing and we have no indications at this time of civilian casualties. If I remember the statement exactly. And that was true. When it was said, we also put in there the centcom put in there that we are assessing and and we continue to assess. I’m trying to understand on what basis and then over horizon capability are you making assessments on civilian casualties? How is that being done? Because, well, we’re certainly, we’re looking at a variety of means of information. Um, and uh, and uh, we’re obviously collecting open press reporting and we’re doing the best we can, uh, to try to understand uh, the situation uh, locally as best we can. Um, and uh, and that would include discussions with the Taliban about about what they might be seeing. So there’s a variety of ways that we are trying to do this assessment, get more clarity on why we can’t know the names of the ISIS K suspects that were hit on Thursday. I’m having a hard time. I understand they were described as high-profile planners, facilitators. The president has said that we will hunt you down. Why can’t we know who the is? Probably a time when we can talk to you about the names? That’s not the time. Right now. We are still dealing with, as we saw from last night’s rocket attacks, very real ongoing threats. And uh, I think we’re doing what we believe to be the prudent thing with respect to the release of information we’re giving you as much as we can and as close to real time as we can. But we’re not gonna be able to give you everything. And we talked about that a couple of days ago when uh, when we talked about the retrograde beginning that there was going to be, um, uh, more judicious approach about information release? So there will probably become a time when we can be more forthcoming. Now, it’s not that time. Let me go to the phones here. Haven’t done this at all yet, Alex Horton. Okay, we’ll come back to you Alex, Jeff struggle. Thanks. I have a question and it’s difficult but I hope you can entertain it according to politico, the US knew where the attack would roughly where the attack would take place on Thursday and when it would attack, when it would take place. Why were there U. S. Troops at that gate at that time, Jeff, What I can tell you is that we have been monitoring as close as we can intelligence. That led us to believe that we were in a very dynamic and in some cases specific threat environment. Uh Number one, number two. Uh as General Mackenzie said, we’re going to we’re going to investigate, we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened last Thursday. Uh 13 precious lives were lost. We’re going to take that seriously and we’re gonna and we’re not going to investigate it in public. Number three. I am absolutely not going to speak uh to a press story that was informed by the unlawful disclosure of classified information, insensitive deliberations here at the pentagon. Just not going to do it. Yeah. Give him being conducted at a residential area, this strike drone strike, where the collateral damage of the strike was almost a certainty. So was that the only option? You guys used a question to both of you, Was there any other option to stop that bomb laden vehicle? I’ll let the general, I’ll ask the general too provide context. The only thing I would say is that we’ve used the word dynamic a lot and and I know that sounds like pentagon speak and uh but that’s really how you the best way to describe the threats were facing dynamic, moving fluid quick. Uh and because that’s how ISIS K. Operates and we have to try to be as quick and as nimble as they are. Um And when you have what we believe to be an imminent threat and we believe this to be an imminent threat. We took the action that we believe was was the most necessary at the best opportunity to thwart that attack. Mhm commanders will always minimize collateral damage. That is one of the key tenets of of what we are, how we operate in this case. Just like Mr. Kirby said that this strike prevented a high-profile attack against both, you know, coalition and U. S. Forces and other afghan civilians. And so as we looked at the information that we had during the time of the strike, we took all those measures in place and the decision was made to strike and thwart that attack And also only on the five rockets. So the US. Force protection measures engaged those rockets and apparently they hit one of them or you didn’t engage the other ones you just wanted to engage that specific 4th 1 as we look at just going back the force protection see RAM did work. It did engage and had effect on the one and then one did land in a in an area and it was not effective. So it didn’t it didn’t it didn’t intercepted that one. That’s correct. We intercepted one and it was effective. See RAM was affected. Uhh Therese I just need to clarify the numbers you stated earlier of the 122 0 is the 5400. A part of that number of Americans evacuate er or is that a separate number from the 122,000 plus evacuated over the course of this operation. Going back to late July when we started moving s ivy applicants back home. And then when you add in the That since then yes 50 400 is included in the 122,000. Uh huh. Of course I understand. You can’t give us an update on the number of troops on the ground but are you still confident that all the troops will be out by the deadline? And also if you can clarify when the deadline will come into effect like Kabul time august it’s a little bit no no affair for uh answer your first question is yes. And the answer your second question is I’m not going to get into it, jenny, thank you john if I s. K terrorists, continuous terrorism in Afghanistan, Even after the withdrawal of us troops on the 31st with the United States get involved in the war on terror again? Well, I think I’d like to go back to what I said before uh to Courtney, uh, the president’s made it clear are our combat mission, are the war we have been fighting in Afghanistan that that’s going to end and it’s going to end very soon here. But what’s not going to end is our commitment, especially here at the Defense Department to protect the American people uh from from threats and particularly from any terrorist threat that could emanate from Afghanistan again. And as I said to to my previous answer, you can see in just the last 24, hours that we do have an effective over the horizon counterterrorism capability. We’ve employed it now twice. And that capability will will remain. And obviously, we’re not gonna detail what it looks like on any given day against any particular threat. But we’re going to maintain that capability to protect the American people from threats that could emanate from Afghanistan. It’s also important to remember that counter terrorism threat isn’t just in Afghanistan, uh it’s in the levant, it’s in North Africa. I mean, and we and you guys have all seen that and we are going to still maintain uh that ability to to thwart those threats as best we can. And and over the horizon is not something new to us either. I mean, we’re we’ve been doing it for a long time in places outside Afghanistan. Yeah, not over horizon ability for striking for its or is that still, is that still coming from gulf bases or are you making progress with regional partners for that? Over horizon comes from over the horizon. Abraham and I’m not going to go into more detail and being made with those negotiations continue to have discussions with neighboring nations about, about possibilities. I don’t have anything to announce today, Alex. Let me come back to you there. Yeah, here we go. I got you. Yeah. Going back to the strike, um, the drug strike on the vehicle. Uh, you know, uh, I want to revisit the evidence you used. Um you know, it seems like verification that it was a legitimate target came from the secondary explosion though. An ordinance expert in trainee od tech told me, you know, accessing the wire photos, publicly available photos of the scene show, you know, a lack of soot on the walls, uh, you know, relatively little amount of shrapnel. There’s a tree that was knocked down that with the foil is still intact. So, you know, after viewing these things, you know, what is your, you still stand by with a high degree of confidence that there was a significant explosion and not something like a gas tank explosion or something like that. That may misdirect the the evidence of a big secondary explosion. No. Mhm. We know that, as I said earlier, there was a secondary explosion and that assessed that what was there was going to be used in a high-profile attack. I don’t have details on the you know the information that you’re just saying that. But our intelligence experts and the centcom will continue to assess the post-strike activities. Okay, a couple more back there and that’s the coordination with Taliban applied to the final phases of the withdrawal. I mean will they take over the airport before you leave? How will you ensure the protection of your troops? Will you depend on your capabilities how the outcome would look like the last flight? There’s a lot there um as I said to louis um we have been in communication with the Taliban about about these final days um so that we can make sure that there’s no miscalculation, no misunderstanding. Our goal is to complete this retrograde and to wrap up evacuation operations as safely and as orderly as we can. Obviously I’m not going to get into the details of either the conversations we’re having or our processes and procedures as we have seen all too vividly in the last day, The the threat remains high and it remains real. So what I can assure you is that that General Mackenzie and I am obviously General Donahue there on the ground, they have worked out a very carefully coordinated uh method of of safely completing this retrograde and that’s about as far as I think I can go as for the airport. Uh the airport will remain operational through are final flights. Um what it looks like after we are gone, I would just point you to what the Secretary of State said that the international community, there’s a couple of countries that have talked about uh being able to come up with an arrangement to to keep it operational for commercial air traffic in coordination with the Taliban. I’ll let those countries speak for their efforts with the Taliban. That would not be a U. S. Military function, it would not be a U. S. Military responsibility once we have completed the retrograde and and we are no longer there just a couple more Yeah ratio of flights to people getting out has gotten pretty high. Is that only indicative of fewer people coming on to the airport or is that also a mix of flights filling up with equipment and supplies heading out like? So we’re not gonna get into details of load plants, but obviously we are reaching the end of our prescribed mission. So commanders are in flowing and out flowing those requirements needed to complete the mission. And are there still strike aircraft flying overhead keeping out in case something is going on here the airport while everyone’s getting on planes, assets as we talked about assets available. Not going to get into the details of what’s flying and what there is? But the commanders that are fulfilling this last part of this mission have all the assets they need uh in the air and underground where they’re at to complete the mission safely. Noncombatant evacuation operations are dangerous period. Um the end of them, particularly one in that in an environment that we can’t uh consider clearly cannot consider permissive are particularly dangerous and the commanders on the ground have the resources they need to enact appropriate force protection. What is more dangerous now about saying they’re F eighteens and reapers flying over there, There was two weeks ago. It’s not it’s not it’s not it’s not that it’s not that we’re not saying more specific because uh for one reason or another, it’s that we are in a particularly dangerous time now, Megan. Uh, not that it hasn’t always been dangerous, but it is particularly dangerous now and we’re just not gonna detail every aspect of our force protection measures in public while we still have troops in harm’s way and we’re still trying to get people out of Afghanistan. There will be a time to talk about all that. It’s just not today. Um, there’s an American hostage still being held by the Taliban? Has the Taliban agreed to release Mark free ricks before the US leaves. Does the US have any plans to leave without this American hostage without getting into specifics, Jenn? I can tell you that we share the entire governments, uh concerns over Mr. Frerichs and our strong desire to see him returned home to his family where he belongs. Uh, and there has been a concerted effort over many, many months to try to achieve that outcome. And regardless of uh what we do over the next day or so, uh we will remain, all of us will remain focused on returning him safely to his family. That’s not gonna that’s not gonna change one way or the other. Okay, listen, I’m gonna wrap it up here. I appreciate it. Uh thanks very much and we’ll talk to you soon. Mhm.

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