Jake Sullivan said that the permanent presence of the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan from September 1 is not expected.
The Biden administration expects that the Taliban will provide safe passage for Americans and others to leave Afghanistan after completing the withdrawal of American troops next week.
U.S. troops must complete the evacuation mission in Kabul by August 31, as set by U.S. President Joe Biden. These efforts are complicated by the threats of new attacks, such as the explosion on Thursday, which killed dozens of Afghans and 13 American soldiers.
“After August 31, we will do everything to ensure safe passage for any American citizen, any holder of a residence permit, ” Sullivan said.
“And yes, we will provide safe passage for those Afghans who helped us so that they can leave after August 31,” he added.
Ensuring such passage presupposes some form of cooperation between Washington and the Taliban, which controls the country that ruled it in 1996-2001 when the United States overthrew it to provide refuge to Al-Qaeda militants who planned the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“Our current plan does not provide for a permanent presence of the embassy in Afghanistan from September 1,” Sullivan said.
He said that the possibility of new strikes and “other operations” is being considered in response to the attack on Thursday, for which the Islamic State affiliates in Afghanistan, IS-Khorasan, claimed responsibility. The attack was the largest incident regarding the number of victims among American servicemen in Afghanistan over the past ten years.
Sullivan noted that the U.S. authorities do not believe that “interested terrorist groups” in Afghanistan have the ability to plan attacks abroad.