WE CONDUCT THIS VERY IMPORTANT MISSION WE CONTINUE TO HELP OUR FELLOW AMERICANS DEAL WITH THE SURGE OF THE PANDEMIC AND THE CITIZENS OF HAITI DEAL WITH THE AFTERMATH OF HER EARTHQUAKE: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III #Breaking #News

Channel 1 Los Angeles

8/18/2021 Washington D.C.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

I AM GOING TO SPEAK BRIEFLY AND TURN IT OVER TO THE CHAIRMAN FOR OPERATIONAL UPDATES. LET ME START BY SAYING THAT WE REMAIN LASER FOCUS RIGHT NOW ON THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN KABUL. WE ARE FOCUSED ON DOING EVERYTHING THAT WE CAN TO CONTINUE EVACUATING AMERICAN ALLIES, AND AFGHANS, WHO HAVE WORKED ALONGSIDE US. ALSO, OTHER COURAGEOUS AFGHANS ARE AT SPECIAL RISK. WE ARE PRIORITIZING THREE KEY CONCERNS. FIRST, THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF OUR PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE THAT WE ARE TRYING TO EVACUATE. THE CHAIRMAN WILL BRIEF YOU THAT THE FILE ELEMENTS OF MILITARY FORCES CAN YOU TO FLOW INTO KABUL, WITH ABOUT 4500 AND PLACE AS WE SPEAK. WE ARE TRAINED AND EQUIPPED TO DEFEND OURSELVES AND OUR OPERATIONS. THERE IS BEEN NO HOSTILE INTERACTIONS WITH THE TALIBAN. OUR LINES OF COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE 10 BALANCE — TALIBAN COMMANDERS ARE OPEN AS THEY SHOULD BE. MY SECOND FOCUS IS MAINTAINING SECURITY AT THE AIRPORT ITSELF.

IN CONCERT WITH FORCES OF OUR ALLIES, OUR TROOPS HAVE SET UP DEFENSIVE POSITIONS AROUND THE AIRPORT. IT WILL CONTINUE TO FUNCTION SAFELY. WE DO NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED, AND I CONTINUE TO BE IN DAILY CONTACT WITH GENERAL MACKENZIE AND COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE WHAT THEY NEED TO KEEP IT SAFE. MY THIRD AREA OF FOCUS, OF COURSE, IS THE PACE. INCREASING THE FLOW OF AIRCRAFT AND PEOPLE OUT OF KABUL.

WE HAVE FLOWN OUT SEVERAL THOUSAND SINCE THE 15TH OF AUGUST. OUR GOAL IS TO INCREASE OUR CAPACITY EVERY DAY GOING FORWARD. AS WE BUILD OUT THIS CAPACITY, WE ARE WORKING HAND IN GLOVE WITH THE STATE GOVERNMENT WHICH IS LEADING THE WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT EFFORT TO NULLIFY AND PROCESS CITIZENS WERE LEAVING. WE ARE URGENTLY IDENTIFYING IN THE PROCESS AFGHAN APPLICANTS AS WELL. WE DISPATCH SMALL MILITARY TEAMS TO TWO OF THE AIRPORT GATES IN STATE DEPARTMENT CONSUL EFFORTS. THEY ARE SEEKING ENTRY. WE EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO AUGMENT THAT CAPABILITY IN THE COMING DAYS. THIS IS TRULY A TEAM EFFORT ACROSS THE INTERAGENCY, AND THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS OUR U.S. SERVICEMEMBERS ARE MAKING EXCEPTIONAL EFFORTS UNDER CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES. THEY ARE SHOWING THEIR HUMANITY AND THEIR COMPASSION.

I WANT TO THANK THEM FOR THEIR SKILL AND THEIR PROFESSIONALISM. IT IS NOT LOST ON ME, THAT EVEN AS WE CONDUCT THIS VERY IMPORTANT MISSION, WE CONTINUE TO HELP OUR FELLOW AMERICANS DEAL WITH THE SURGE OF THE PANDEMIC AND THE CITIZENS OF HAITI DEAL WITH THE AFTERMATH OF HER — EARTHQUAKE. WE ALSO THINK GENERAL MACKENZIE AND THE REAR ADMIRAL OF THE UNITED STATES FORCES, AND GENERAL DONAHUE AND BRIGADIER GENERAL SULLIVAN. IS MAKING AN ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE. THEY KNOW, AS I DO, THAT THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE. ALL OF THIS IS VERY PERSONAL FOR ME. THIS IS THE WAR THAT I FOUGHT IN AND LED. I’D OF THE COUNTRY.

I KNOW THE PEOPLE. I KNOW THOSE WHO FOUGHT ALONGSIDE ME. WE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO HELP THOSE WHO HELPED US. I FEEL THE URGENCY DEEPLY. I WANT TO END WITH THE WORD FOR THE FORCE OF OUR MILITARY. I KNOW THAT THESE ARE DIFFICULT DAYS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES IN AFGHANISTAN, AND THOSE WHO CARRY THE WOUNDS OF WAR. ESPECIALLY NOW, WE MOURN THOSE WHO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE IN AFGHANISTAN. LET ME SAY TO THEIR FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES, OUR HEARTS ARE WITH YOU. THE U.S. MILITARY STANDS AS ONE TO HONOR THOSE WE HAVE LOST. AFGHAN WAR VETERANS — I AM HEARING STRONG VIEWS ON ALL SIDES, AND THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT EACH OF US WILL WORK THROUGH THIS IN OUR OWN WAY.

WE NEED TO RESPECT THAT AND WE NEED TO GIVE ONE ANOTHER THE TIME AND SPACE TO HELP DO IT. OUR GREATEST ASSET AS A NATION IS THE EXTRAORDINARY MEN AND WOMEN WHO VOLUNTEER TO KEEP A SAFE, AND THEIR FAMILIES. WE HONOR THEIR SERVICE, WE UNDERSTAND YOUR SACRIFICE, AND WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

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