US Defense Secretary told lawmakers Americans beaten by Taliban in Kabul, sources say

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(Alex Wong / Getty Images)
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)
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Pentagon press secretary John Kirby today provided few details on how US troops brought 169 Americans to Hamid Karzai International Airport, but called the activity “assistance” instead. than a rescue mission.

“My understanding of what happened is that they were really right outside the wall,” he told CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

“It wasn’t so much a rescue as it was helping them get into the field,” Kirby continued, speaking from the Pentagon.

Pressed by Starr, Kirby has repeatedly said he does not have details of US operations outside the airport, which is secured by the US military.

“I don’t have that level of detail,” Kirby said. “… I don’t have that level of tactical detail today. I’m happy to go and see if we can come up with some answers for you on that.”

President Biden, at a press conference earlier this afternoon, said US troops had breached the wall to bring 169 Americans to the airfield.

Kirby said beyond “assisting” the 169 Americans, he was not aware of any other cases in which American soldiers had left the airport. He said the United States had increased its ability to operate outside the wire, however, in contrast to remarks made earlier in the week by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said they had not the ability to go out and get “big numbers of people.”

Speaking at the Pentagon today, Kirby said they had now “landed with additional capability, additional forces.”

“If it was necessary to do something more to help the Americans or other people at risk that we need to get to the airfield, we would look at those options,” Kirby said.

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