Afghanistan latest news as Taliban forces take control: Live updates

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President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden hasn’t spoken with any of his foreign counterparts since Kabul fell to the Taliban, his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Tuesday. 

Sullivan said other members of the administration were making calls abroad instead because the discussions were more logistical.

“He’s not spoken with any other world leaders,” Sullivan said, responding to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Other world leaders have spent the last several days on the telephone with allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have all conferred with each other.

Johnson, meanwhile, has proposed a virtual meeting of the G7.

But Biden has left the calls to foreign allies to those on his team.

“Myself, Secretary (of State Antony) Blinken, several other senior members of the team are engaged on a regular basis with foreign counterparts and we intend to do so in the coming days,” Sullivan said. 

“Right now, the main issue is an operational issue,” he added. “It’s about how we coordinate with them to help them get their people out and we are operating through logistic channels and policy channels to make that happen.”

Asked to explain further why Biden hadn’t conferred with any of his foreign counterparts, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the current matters at hand fell below high-level talks. 

“Our focus right now has been on operational efforts, which includes coordination at a lower level than leaders and heads of state,” she said. “And that is our focus on working with third countries to help get their citizens out or working with others on the ground to get vulnerable populations out.”

She said Biden would likely place calls to foreign leaders soon.

“If there is a benefit in the president picking up the phone and calling a world leader he will do that and I expect he will do that in the coming days,” she said.

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