Afghanistan: Joe Biden still says he hopes for the end of evacuations before August 31
This date had been set by his government for the complete withdrawal of American troops from the country.
President Joe Biden said on Sunday August 22 that he still hoped that evacuation operations in Kabul could be completed before August 31, the date that had been set by his government for the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan .
“We hope that we will not have to extend,” said the US president, while leaving the door open for an extension. “There will be discussions, I think.”
“We’ll see what we can do,” he replied to a question from a reporter asking what he would do if allied countries demanded that the United States stay there longer.
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell had judged Saturday “impossible” to evacuate all the Afghan collaborators of the Western powers before August 31.
28,000 people evacuated since August 14
Several human rights organizations have also called on Joe Biden to extend the deadline for the US withdrawal.
Some 28,000 people have been evacuated since August 14, the White House tenant said on Sunday. “It’s an incredible operation,” he said.
“We are working hard and as fast as possible to evacuate people”, he added, assuring that these evacuations would have been “difficult and painful” even if they had been started “a month ago”.
A week after the Taliban seized power , thousands of people were still trying to flee the country this Sunday, and chaos still reigned at Kabul airport.
“We’ve made a number of changes, including expanding access around the airport and the security zone,” Joe Biden said without giving further details.
US President Joe Biden said he hopes to complete evacuation from Afghanistan by the end of the month but warned of threat of terrorist attacks against the crowded Kabul airport.
Speaking in the White House, Joe Biden said his “hope is we will not have to extend [the deadline]”, and complete the task by August 31, the date agreed with the Taliban.
Underlining why US officials are keen to complete the mission as soon as possible, Biden warned that Islamic State extremists known as ISIS-K pose a constant threat.
“We know that terrorists may seek to exploit the situation,” he said. “It’s still a dangerous operation.”
When asked by reporters what his reply was to foreign leaders asking for more time, Joe Biden added, “We’ll see what we can do.”
US President Joe Biden, on Sunday, hoped that the US evacuation plan from Afghanistan will conclude by August 31. Speaking to reporters in White House, Biden said cited a threat of attack by the Islamic State (IS) and added that a ‘lot could still go wrong’ in the war-torn country.
“We know that terrorists may seek to exploit the situation & target innocent Afghans or American troops. We’re maintaining constant vigilance to monitor and disrupt threats from any source, including ISIS and the Afghan affiliate known as ISIS-K,” Biden said during the briefing.
The US President added that discussions are going on with the military about extending the August 31 evacuation deadline, but hoped that ‘we don’t have to extend’.
Expressing concern over the scenes of dismay and chaos at the Kabul International Airport, where thousands were seen clinging to the US evacuation planes in a bid to escape the Taliban rule, Biden said that his heart ‘aches for those people’.
No way to evacuate without pain and loss: Biden
“There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss and the heartbreaking images you see, it’s just a fact. My heart aches for those people you see. At the end of the day, if we didn’t leave Afghanistan now, when would we?” he questioned.
Biden’s comments on the situation in Afghanistan came after the Taliban alleged that the US has failed to bring order at the Hamid Karai International Airport in Kabul. “America, with all its power and facilities… has failed to bring order to the airport. There is peace and calm all over the country, but there is chaos only at Kabul airport,” Taliban official Amir Khan Mutaqi was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
Earlier, the US had said that there were about 15,000 American citizens and about 50,000 Afghan allies who needed to be evacuated from Kabul. The US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 30,300 people on military and coalition flights since August 14. “Since the end of July, we have relocated approximately 35,500 people,” a White House official said on Monday.