Vice President Kamala Harris chuckled at and cut off a reporter to say that Afghanistan is the administration’s top priority.
Harris, who is currently traveling through South Asia, was asked about the situation in Afghanistan, where the United States and other Western countries have been rapidly working to get their own citizens as well as Afghan refugees out of the country since the Taliban took over.
“Hold on. Hold on. Slow down, everybody,” she said when approached with questions after disembarking from her voyage. “Hahaha. Um, I want to talk about two things. First, Afghanistan — we couldn’t have a higher priority right now.”
The Biden administration, which was slow to address the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan publicly, has sought to protect Americans and Afghan allies from danger after the Taliban quickly and easily rose to power in Afghanistan, the speed of which caught U.S. officials by surprise.
Military and intelligence experts said the Taliban could defeat the Afghan army in a matter of months or years, even though the latter had both greater numbers and nearly two decades of U.S. military training. However, the Taliban were able to capture nearly the entire country during an 11-day offensive.
There have been approximately 30,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan since the end of July, with about 25,100 since Aug. 14, a White House official said on Sunday. Another official added that the number exceeds 7,800 for evacuees over the past day.