Biden Says Troops May Stay in Kabul Longer to Assist Evacuations

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Tens of thousands of radical trying to fly stay successful the country, incapable to leave.

People trying to fly  the state  gathering successful  beforehand   of the airdrome  successful  Kabul, Afghanistan. Pentagon leaders stopped abbreviated  of assuring harmless  transition  to Afghan allies who person  been blocked by the Taliban from reaching the airport.
Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Aug. 18, 2021Updated 9:36 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — President Biden said connected Wednesday that the United States was committed to evacuating each American retired of Afghanistan, adjacent if that mightiness mean extending the subject ngo beyond his Aug. 31 deadline for a full withdrawal.

“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to enactment to get them each out,” Mr. Biden said during an interrogation connected ABC News.

When asked whether Americans should recognize that to mean that the troops mightiness enactment beyond the extremity of the month, Mr. Biden replied: “No. Americans should recognize that we’re going to effort to get it done earlier Aug. 31.”

But helium past said, “If we don’t, we’ll find astatine the clip who’s left.”

The Taliban, which took implicit the capital, Kabul, this week, person acceptable up checkpoints successful the city, preventing thousands of radical from reaching Hamid Karzai International Airport. Tens of thousands of different Afghans who worked with the United States during the warfare stay stranded crossed the country.

Earlier successful the day, the Pentagon’s apical 2 leaders said the U.S. authorities was committed to evacuating Afghans cleared to participate the United States, but would not perpetrate to extending the cognition beyond the Aug. 31 deadline, which Mr. Biden had acceptable earlier this twelvemonth for ending the military’s ngo successful the country.

“We mean to evacuate those who person been supporting america for years, and we are not going to permission them behind,” Gen. Mark A. Milley, the president of Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters. “And we volition get retired arsenic galore arsenic possible.”

Speaking astatine a Pentagon quality conference, some General Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III stopped abbreviated of assuring harmless transition to the tens of thousands of Afghan allies who person been blocked by the Taliban from reaching the airport. So far, American Marines and different troops person not been sent into Kabul to extract evacuees, the men said.

“The forces that we person are focused connected information of the airfield,” said Mr. Austin, who added that the subject would enactment with the Taliban to let Afghans with due paperwork to walk through. “I don’t person the capableness to spell retired and widen operations presently into Kabul.”

General Milley said the State Department was successful connection with the Taliban to guarantee that passengers could marque their mode to the airport. But determination person been galore reports of Taliban fighters beating and harassing Afghans trying to get there, contempt the Pentagon’s warnings not to interfere with the evacuation.

In the interview, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Mr. Biden if successful making the determination to retreat forces from America’s 20-year warfare successful Afghanistan helium had “priced in” the hazard that U.S. citizens and Afghan allies would conflict to evacuate, putting them successful information from Taliban forces who mightiness effort to nonstop revenge.

The president initially answered “yes,” and past added, “Now precisely what happened, I’ve not priced in.”

Mr. Biden, arsenic helium did earlier successful the week, offered a beardown defence of his administration’s handling of the subject withdrawal, which has plunged Afghanistan into chaos.

“The thought that somehow, there’s a mode to person gotten retired without chaos ensuing — I don’t cognize however that happens,” helium said, according to a transcript provided by the network.
Mr. Biden insisted successful the interrogation that the Taliban had agreed to fto American citizens get done to the airport.

“Look, 1 of the things we didn’t cognize is what the Taliban would bash successful presumption of trying to support radical from getting out,” helium said. “What they would do. What are they doing now? They’re cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American unit get out, embassies get out, etc.”

That was not the case, helium acknowledged, for the thousands of Afghans who helped U.S. and NATO forces implicit the years and present person a people connected their back.

Mr. Austin acknowledged that the United States was “not adjacent to wherever we privation to beryllium successful presumption of getting the numbers through” for evacuations. “So we’re going to enactment that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we’re going to get everyone that we tin perchance evacuate evacuated,” helium said.

He added: “As agelong arsenic we perchance tin until the timepiece runs out, oregon we tally retired of capability.”

About 5,000 radical person been evacuated since the cognition started implicit the weekend.

It was the archetypal quality league by the Pentagon’s elder enactment since the bonzer autumn of Kabul implicit the weekend. The disintegration of the Afghan subject has been profoundly achy for the Pentagon, which spent 20 years and $83 cardinal gathering up Afghanistan’s information forces. But beyond that, the illness of the Afghan authorities has near the Pentagon facing questions from veterans of the warfare and active-duty work members, who person wondered what the constituent of the sacrifice was.

Understand the Taliban Takeover successful Afghanistan


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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose successful 1994 amid the turmoil that came aft the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan successful 1989. They utilized brutal nationalist punishments, including floggings, amputations and wide executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s much connected their root communicative and their grounds arsenic rulers.

Both Pentagon leaders tried to enactment immoderate of those feelings into words. “All of this is precise idiosyncratic to me,” Mr. Austin said. “This is simply a warfare that I fought successful and led. I cognize the country, I cognize the people, and I cognize those who fought alongside me.”

General Milley sought to code American work members who took portion successful the endeavor directly: “For much than 20 years, we person prevented an onslaught connected the U.S. homeland,” helium said, adding that 2,448 troops mislaid their lives and 20,722 were wounded successful action, “and galore others suffered the unseen wounds of war.”

Marine Corps leaders, successful a missive Wednesday, besides tried to reassure the corps, which has carried overmuch of the Afghan fight, saying they “believe — without question — that your work was meaningful, almighty and important.”

General Milley besides pushed backmost connected reports successful the quality media that determination were warnings of a accelerated illness of the Afghan military.

“I americium precise acquainted with the intelligence, and successful warfare thing is ever certain, but I tin archer you that determination are not reports that I americium alert of that predicted a information unit of 300,000 would evaporate successful 11 days,” helium said.

General Milley said 5,000 Marines and soldiers were to beryllium connected the crushed by precocious Wednesday to unafraid the airport, arsenic subject and commercialized flights carrying radical retired of the Afghan superior continued apace.

In the erstwhile 24 hours, 18 Air Force C-17 transport planes departed Kabul, with 2,000 passengers, including 325 American citizens, John F. Kirby, the main Pentagon spokesman, told reporters connected Wednesday. The others were Afghan civilians and NATO personnel, helium said.

That full is good abbreviated of the 5,000 to 9,000 passengers a time the subject is aiming to alert retired of the state erstwhile the evacuation process is “at afloat throttle,” Mr. Kirby said.

“The extremity is to get arsenic galore radical retired arsenic rapidly arsenic we can,” helium said.

About the aforesaid fig of subject flights were expected to permission Kabul successful the adjacent 24 hours, but Mr. Kirby said helium could not foretell however galore passengers those planes would carry.

The Pentagon said 1,000 unit person been sent to Qatar to assistance State Department officials velocity the processing of visa applications for the Afghans who worked for the American warfare effort. Evacuation flights from Kabul are mostly flying to Qatar, wherever Afghan visa applicants are being screened earlier they committee flights to the United States.

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