Speed Reads

Getting the staff out

U.S. embassy staff evacuated from Sudan as fighting continues

American staff at the U.S. embassy in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, have been evacuated amid large-scale warfare throughout the country, President Biden said Saturday. 

The staff was extracted from the embassy by American special forces on presidential orders, Biden said in a press release. The president added that he was "proud of the extraordinary commitment of our embassy staff, who performed their duties with courage and professionalism and embodied America's friendship and connection with the people of Sudan."

While details of the extraction were not released by the White House, The Associated Press reported that helicopters were on the ground for "less than an hour," and no injuries or casualties were reported among the 70 people rescued. American forces were assisted in the evacuation efforts by Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, Biden said. 

While the American embassy has been closed indefinitely, there are hundreds of private U.S. citizens remaining in Sudan. Officials told AP that a larger-scale evacuation mission was deemed too dangerous for the time being. 

The evacuation comes as Sudan continues to see nationwide violence between warring factions of the nation's military, with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) attempting to gain control of the country from the Sudanese Army. Hundreds of people have already been killed, and Biden said the two sides should "implement an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and respect the will of the people of Sudan," adding that he was "receiving regular reports from my team on their ongoing work to assist Americans in Sudan."

Other countries have enacted similar operations to rescue foreign workers from Sudan. The French Foreign Ministry said it had begun an evacuation procedure, NBC News reported, saying they would also assist citizens from "allied partner countries." The U.K. Defense Ministry tweeted that they had also evacuated around 1,200 personnel.