National security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Sunday of the "exceedingly dangerous moment" currently underway in Afghanistan, as the U.S. continues its efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies by the impending Aug. 31 deadline.
"It's been an exceedingly dangerous moment," Sullivan told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview that aired Sunday morning.
Sullivan added: "We are doing everything in our power to prevent and disrupt the threat streams that we are seeing and stopping any kind of attack that would endanger the lives of American service members or civilians trying to get into the airport."
"But all we can do is mitigate, and we are in a period of serious danger given what we are seeing in the intelligence," he added on “State of the Union.“
Sullivan's comments came just days after ISIS militants set off two bombs outside Kabul’s main airport, killing 13 American troops and injuring 18 at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. On Saturday, President Joe Biden warned that another attack was likely. “This strike was not the last,” Biden said in a statement. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”
Sullivan doubled down on these concerns in a second interview with CBS' "Face the Nation," saying Biden is relying heavily in the entire national security team to mitigate these risks.
"Our job is to execute. Our job is to get this mission complete. And right now, the president is looking to his entire national security team to make that happen, to take this next critical, dangerous period where we face acute threats as we speak, minute by minute, hour by hour."
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also highlighted the ongoing danger of the current evacuation efforts.
"The fact of the matter is, from the get go, this was an extraordinarily dangerous mission," Blinken told ABC's Martha Raddatz on “This Week.“ "And in these last few days with ISIS-K clearly and actively plotting against us, the danger went up even higher."
Blinken added that the Biden — as well as top military commanders, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin — are taking all possible precautions to keep people safe overseas.
"But this is the most dangerous time in an already extraordinarily dangerous mission, these last couple of days. And so, we will do everything possible to keep people safe, but the risk is very high."
The U.S. is still holding firm to its Aug. 31 deadline. The administration notes that there are still approximately 300 American citizens remaining in Afghanistan who have said they want to leave and whom the U.S. is working to get out of the country.
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