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Jen Psaki ‘Out of the Office’ as Afghanistan Falls to Taliban

President Biden quiet on crisis during Camp David vacation

White House press secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki / Getty Images
• August 16, 2021 12:20 pm

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki is "out of the office" this week as the Taliban executes its takeover of Afghanistan, according to automated messages her office has sent to media organizations.

Fox News attempted to reach Psaki for comment on Sunday—the same day the Taliban seized Kabul, Afghanistan's capital city. Psaki's email returned an auto-reply that said the press secretary would be "out of the office" from Aug. 15-22.

President Joe Biden, who is on vacation at Camp David, has been silent on the Taliban's takeover. Biden is expected to return on Monday to Washington to deliver remarks on the crisis, according to CNN.

The White House's sole acknowledgment of Kabul's capture came Sunday, when it released a photo of the president sitting alone while participating in a video call with national security officials to discuss the "ongoing security situation in Kabul."

Republican lawmakers have slammed Biden for taking a vacation while Afghanistan is in chaos. "Why is Joe Biden in hiding?" Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) said Sunday. "He should immediately address the nation and answer for the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan."

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan in recent weeks following Biden's pullout of troops from the country, facing little resistance. The jihadist organization has captured all major cities in Afghanistan. Thousands of desperate Afghans swarmed the Kabul airport on Sunday in an attempt to escape, crowding the tarmac and trying to board planes. Seven people have been killed at the airport amid the chaos.