White House national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has said that the U.S. administration expects the Taliban to continue allowing safe passage for Americans and others to leave Afghanistan after the U.S. military withdrawal is completed next week.
"The Taliban have both communicated privately and publicly that they will allow for safe passage," Sullivan said in an interview set to be broadcast by CBS later on August 29, as U.S. forces are winding down their evacuation mission in Kabul ahead of an August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.
"After August 31, we will make sure there is safe passage for any American citizen, any legal permanent resident," Sullivan said, according to a transcript.
"And yes, we will ensure the safe passage of those Afghans who helped us to continue coming out after the 31st of August," he added.
Sullivan said that the United States is planning to withdraw all diplomatic staff currently at the airport by that deadline.
"Our current plan is not to have an ongoing embassy presence in Afghanistan as of September 1," he said.
The U.S.-led airlift operations at Kabul airport have seen tens of thousands of foreigners and Afghans evacuated since the Taliban seized the capital two weeks ago.
But that effort has been complicated by the threat of more attacks such as the August 26 suicide bombing outside the airport that killed dozens of Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.
The attack was claimed by the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State extremist group.