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Sullivan says the images from Kabul are ‘heartbreaking’

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says the images from Kabul are ‘heartbreaking’ – but Biden had to ‘think about the human costs’ of keeping the US in the conflict

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 
  • National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan opened the Tuesday press briefing my addressing Monday’s chaos at Kabul’s airport 
  • ‘The images from the past couple of days at the airport have been heartbreaking,’ Sullivan said
  • He added that President Joe Biden ‘had to think about the human costs of the alternative path as well’ 
  • Sullivan was asked by DailyMail.com specifically about the imagery of stowaways falling from a plane as they tried to flee Kabul 
  • He again called them ‘heartbreaking,’ addding, ‘the human toll of the end of this conflict in this way, is real and it’s raw and it’s hard for any of us’ 
  • Eight people were reported dead Monday at Kabul’s  Hamid Karzai International Airport
  • The Pentagon has yet to confirm that three people died falling from an airplane and another three died during chaos on the tarmac  

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan opened the Tuesday press briefing by addressing Monday’s chaos at Kabul’s airport that produced images including what looked to be people falling to their deaths from departing aircraft.

‘The images from the past couple of days at the airport have been heartbreaking,’ Sullivan said. ‘But President Biden had to think about the human costs of the alternative path as well, which was to stay in the middle of the civil conflict in Afghanistan.’ 

Sullivan was asked by DailyMail.com specifically about the imagery of stowaways falling from a plane, which has been compared to New Yorkers leaping to their deaths from the burning Twin Towers on 9/11, which kicked off the Afghanistan War. 

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called the images from Kabul’s airport ‘heartbreaking’ during Tuesday’s White House press briefing 

People reportedly fell from a U.S. Navy airplane that was leaving Kabul Monday

A person falls from a departing aircraft from Kabul

DailyMail.com specifically asked Sullivan about visuals that seemingly showed stowaways falling from a U.S. Air Force plane that took off from Kabul 

Afghans run alongside a departing U.S. Air Force C-17 jet at the Kabul airport on Monday. Three were reportedly killed on the tarmac trying to escape, but the Pentagon has yet to confirm those civilian deaths

Afghans run alongside a departing U.S. Air Force C-17 jet at the Kabul airport on Monday. Three were reportedly killed on the tarmac trying to escape, but the Pentagon has yet to confirm those civilian deaths 

President Joe Biden’s national security adviser didn’t directly say whether the president had seen the images. 

‘These images are heartbreaking,’ Sullivan said again. ‘And as I’ve said repeatedly today, the human toll of the end of this conflict in this way, is real and it’s raw and it’s hard for any of us.’ 

‘You guys are journalists, I work in government. But we’re also people,’ Sullivan continued. 

He was asked to speak and answer questions – and did so for 46 minutes – at the top of White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s Tuesday briefing. 

‘And this is tough stuff, there’s no doubt about it. But these are hard choices too,’ Sullivan said. 

Horrific footage shows a stowaway strapped to a plane as it departs from Kabul

Reporting from the ground said this was one of the bodies of the stowaways who fell from a plane as it took off from Kabul

Horrific footage shows a stowaway strapped to a plane as it departs from Kabul (left), and also a body on the ground that reportedly belonged to one of the people who fell from a plane (right)

‘And at the end of the day the president had to make a hard choice about whether – to avoid some of those human costs – the United States continues to send thousands of troops to fight, and some of them die and take casualties, that was the decision he was not prepared to take.’ 

On Monday, outlets on the ground reported that eight people died at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as thousands of Afghans attempted to flee Taliban rule. 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed that two armed Afghans were killed on the ground because they represented a threat. 

Another three Afghans were reportedly killed on the tarmac as a crowd rushed the runway as a C-17 aircraft tried to leave. An additional three were said to have been killed falling from the plane after take-off.  

‘What I can tell you is that I think you are going to hear more from the Air Force today about that,’ Kirby said, with the Pentagon not yet confirming the civilian deaths. 

DailyMail.com’s request for comment to the Air Force has yet to be returned.  

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