The U.S. military evacuated official personnel from the embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday as civil unrest, crime, terrorism, and armed conflict plague the country. However, State Department officials indicate that because of the violence, the U.S. government might not help to evacuate as many as 16,000 Americans who remain.
“That the U.S. was unprepared and caught off guard is really inexcusable,” leading Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert James Carafano told The Daily Signal. “Since Biden became president, we have evacuated three U.S. embassies. That’s unprecedented in modern times.” (The Daily Signal is the multimedia news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Carafano said the U.S. should have focused more on North Africa rather than acting like it does not care about the nations there.
President Joe Biden withdrew troops and all embassy personnel from Afghanistan in August 2021 after a 20-year U.S. occupation, leaving the Taliban to take over. Biden also suspended embassy operations in Ukraine when Russia invaded in February 2022, though the embassy reopened last May.
On Saturday, special operations troops evacuated less than 100 people from the embassy in Sudan, and no U.S. government personnel or Marines remain at the U.S. embassy, State Department and Pentagon officials confirmed.
However, media reports show that as many as 16,000 Americans remain in Sudan. The president said there is “ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan.”
Yet statements from the State Department raise questions about whether the Biden administration truly intends to rescue the Americans. After the evacuation of official personnel, the State Department said it “cannot provide routine or emergency consular services to U.S. citizens in Sudan, due to the current security situation.”
The current situation includes armed conflict and “heavy fighting between various political and security groups,” the Biden State Department said.
“The situation is violent, volatile, and extremely unpredictable, particularly in the capital city Khartoum,” according to the statement.
National security and foreign policy senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation Mike Gonzalez said the National Security Council and the State Department seem caught off guard by “a major world conflagration.”
“This is a wake-up call that the world is a dangerous place, and we should have better national security priorities than flying ‘Pride Flags’ from embassies or pushing gender and race theories on other cultures, especially as these issues are highly controversial here at home,” Gonzalez told The Daily Signal.
Americans left behind in Sudan have little hope of making it home, as the State Department said the Khartoum airport and Sudan’s border with Chad are closed.
Ambassador John Bass, Biden’s undersecretary of State for management, said Sudan now features an “absence of any commercial air, the absence of any charter aircraft capabilities, and the absence of really feasible overland road routes to get out of the country.”
Bass doesn’t foresee Sudan’s “uncertain environment” improving in the near future.
“We don’t anticipate those security conditions are going to change in the near term,” Bass said in a statement. “As a result of that uncertain security picture, as a result of the unavailability of the civilian airport, we don’t foresee coordinating a U.S. Government evacuation for our fellow citizens in Sudan at this time or in the coming days.”
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