State Department spokesman Ned Price said Thursday that officials are aware of "congestion" around the Kabul airport as desperate Americans try to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
What did Price say?
Price said in the clip, "We significantly expanded how many American citizens, locally employed staff, [Special Immigrant Visa] applicants, and other vulnerable Afghans who are eligible for departure, and we offered them to consider transit to the airport."
He added, "We're aware of congestion around the airport. We are working closely with the Department of Defense to facilitate safe and orderly access for consular processing on the airport compound."
How did folks react to Price calling the chaos 'congestion'?
As you might expect, a number of observers were dumbfounded by Price's characterization of the dangerous situation around the airport as "congestion":
- "My chest has congestion," one commenter wrote. "The airport has terrorists with weapons that my tax dollar paid for."
- "Really?! 'Congestion'? Even the local helicopter traffic guy would follow that up with a suggestion or two of 'alternate ways around' the 'congestion,'" another user observed. "Good Lord — they really should just stop speaking."
- "These people truly have no shame, no courage, and no integrity," another commenter said.
- "Congestion? This administration is a damn joke," another user declared.
- "This is not Spirit Airlines you a**hole," another commenter said.
- "Wow," another user exclaimed. "They need to start resigning so we can get competent people in place to try and minimize the damage at this point."
- "What a tool this guy is," another commenter said.
Price also said the State Department was sending consular officers to Kabul and other locations, including Qatar and Kuwait, to help with the evacuation effort from Afghanistan, Reuters reported.
The outlet added that thousands have attempted to get past Taliban roadblocks and U.S. troops to reach the airport — and that the Taliban on Thursday urged Afghans waiting outside the airport to go home.
Price reportedly used the word "congestion" a second time, as CNN quoted him saying:
"Our imperative is to relocate as many people as quickly as we can. And we've seen the reports of congestion. My understanding is that things are moving quite efficiently at this hour at the airport, at the airport now, but every report we see of someone unable to reach the airport is of concern," he said.
He also noted that "when it comes to American citizens, we have a relatively large cadre of consular officers on the ground in Kabul right now. They are in regular and constant contact with American citizens. I can tell you that they have received as of a couple hours ago a small handful of reports from American citizens who weren't able to reach the airport for whatever reason," CNN said.