A Department of Defense spokesperson confirmed that the US was deploying forces in advance, but stopped short of saying they were headed to Djibouti.
“The Department of Defense, through U.S. Africa Command, is monitoring the situation in Sudan and conducting prudent planning for various contingencies. As part of this, we are deploying additional capabilities nearby to the region for the contingency purposes of securing and possibly facilitating the departure of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan, if warranted. Circumstances do so,” said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jaron Garn.
Some in the administration hope to avoid scenes reminiscent of the evacuation from Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2021. The thronging of thousands pleading to leave the city as the Taliban seize power has become a defining image of America’s withdrawal.
Meanwhile, lawmakers worry about the safety of US personnel in Khartoum.
Concerned senators took a detour before a Capitol news conference Thursday about the leaked document to ask about the safety of American personnel in Khartoum, said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kane, who declined to provide details due to the secret setup, said there was a plan in place to take care of it.
“Arrangements have been made. They are sheltering in place and they are all safe now, they are all accounted for and in contact with them.” There is a whole government effort to figure out exactly how to make sure they stay safe. We’re way ahead of him.”
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who is also on the committee, added, “Of course, I have concerns about our staff there.” He declined to discuss specific plans.
An army evacuation seems more likely by the hour.
The airport in central Khartoum is closed but will not function even if it reopens due to damage from bombing and fighting. Approximately 70 US embassy employees have no options to leave Sudan on their own without serious risks to their safety. A US State Department official said most US diplomats in Sudan are unaccompanied, meaning they do not have their families with them in what is considered a difficult position.
the The US mission in the capital warned Thursday that “given the volatile security situation in Khartoum and the airport closure, it is not currently safe to conduct a US government-orchestrated evacuation of private US citizens.”
Also on Wednesday, Molly Fee, the State Department’s top official for African affairs, told congressional staff that it was too late to order the mission’s departure because of the deteriorating security situation that had already killed about 300 people and injured about 3,000. said two congressional aides.
Another US official familiar with the planning said papers had been prepared at the State Department for an evacuation order. The official added that State Department leadership held a call with embassy staff on Thursday morning to discuss options, including ground evacuation. But the assessment, according to the official, was that travel by road was currently more dangerous than by air.
A possible option would be to transfer personnel to Wadi Sedna Air Base for air evacuation. Dozens of Egyptian soldiers captured by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces group were released this week and returned home from the base 14 miles north of Khartoum.
Another US official said the United States was also in touch with other countries, with embassies in the Sudanese capital, about evacuation plans.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Biden administration has faced similar situations several times since the chaotic evacuation of Kabul.
With the situation in Ethiopia deteriorating amid major conflict, the State Department has urged Americans to leave the country in the meantime Prepare American troops and diplomats for possibility Closing the entire embassy that didn’t have to happen in the end. (Partial withdrawal of Order embassy personnel in non-emergency situations.)
Administration Close the US embassy in Kyiv In the days before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Within months she had it He reopened the embassyalthough not with the full staff.
In both cases, the Biden administration said it would not conduct another Kabul-style evacuation of people other than US government employees. To that end, it sent warnings for weeks and months telling Americans to leave Ethiopia and Ukraine.
The political situation in Sudan has been volatile for years, and The State Department has long urged Americans not to travel there. The last time a similar battle broke out in the region between two senior commanders, 400,000 people died – And that was in South Sudan.
Nahal Tosi and Joe Gold contributed to this report.
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