Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin says the American military has deployed forces and is developing options to assist in the potential evacuation of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said Friday that the American military has deployed forces and is developing options to assist in the potential evacuation of U.S. Embassy personnel from Sudan, where the security situation is deteriorating due to fighting between two warring factions.
The aim is “to ensure that we provide as many options as possible, if we are called on to do something. We haven’t been called on to do anything yet,” Austin said at a news conference in Germany, where he and U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, met with defense leaders from other countries to discuss additional support for Ukraine.
According to an American official, a small number of U.S. troops have begun arriving in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti, where the U.S. is pre-positioning forces and equipment to assist in any potential evacuation of embassy staff from Sudan. The official said Army soldiers are being tapped for the task.
The U.S. troops are being moved to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Evacuation planning for Sudan got underway in earnest on Monday after a U.S. Embassy convoy was attacked in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
The conflict between Sudan’s military and a rival paramilitary force is worsening. The military has ruled out negotiations and said it would only accept surrender as a temporary cease-fire ended, raising the likelihood of a renewed surge in the nearly weeklong violence that has killed hundreds.
The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private deliberations, said Milley discussed the situation with defense officials from Germany, Italy and Canada, among others. One topic was ensuring that any potential evacuation efforts did not conflict.
The U.S. State Department said Friday that an American citizen had died in Sudan, but did not have further details.
“We are in touch with the family and offer our deepest condolences to them on their loss. Out of respect for the family during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add,” the department said in a statement.
Lee and Copp reported from Washington.