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Biden says U.S. has ‘lengthy option to go and rather a lot may nonetheless go fallacious’ in Afghanistan evacuation

US President Joe Biden responds to questions concerning the ongoing US army evacuations of US residents and weak Afghans, within the East Room of the White Home in Washington, DC, on August 20, 2021.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Pictures

President Joe Biden on Sunday mentioned the U.S. has a “lengthy option to go and rather a lot may nonetheless go fallacious” amid the chaotic evacuation of Individuals and Afghan allies from Kabul after the Taliban took over Afghanistan one week in the past.

“The evacuation of 1000’s of individuals from Kabul goes to be onerous and painful regardless of when it began, after we started,” the president mentioned throughout a press convention on the White Home.

“It will have been true if we had began a month in the past, or a month from now. There isn’t a option to evacuate this many individuals with out ache,” Biden mentioned.

The Biden administration is dealing with criticism of its dealing with of the general U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The withdrawal, introduced earlier this 12 months, has been beset by chaos.

Hundreds of individuals have crowded the Kabul airport and a few even plunged to their deaths after clinging to the outside of a U.S. army plane whereas trying to go away the nation. Seven Afghan civilians had been killed in crowds trying the enter Kabul’s airport, based on the British army.

The president mentioned U.S. forces proceed to make progress on evacuations from Kabul. As much as 33,000 individuals have been evacuated since July, together with 28,000 since August 14 and 11,000 over the weekend, Biden mentioned.

The president reiterated that Individuals are the primary precedence for evacuation out of Afghanistan, vowing that “any American who needs to get house will get house.” Biden mentioned his administration is in discussions about extending its Aug. 31 deadline to exit Afghanistan, however that “our hope is that we’ll not have to increase.”

Biden additionally defended his choice to withdraw the U.S. from the nation, arguing that it was the “logical, rational and proper choice to make.”

U.S. protection officers mentioned Sunday that the army is looking for alternative routes to get individuals to the airport safely amid particular threats from ISIS in opposition to the airport. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday warned Americans to not journey to the airport resulting from safety threats outdoors the gates.

The Pentagon on Sunday ordered U.S. business airways to offer planes to move individuals who have already flown in another country to army bases in Europe and the Center East.

The president emphasised that planes taking off from Kabul are usually not flying on to the U.S. however reasonably touchdown at army bases and processing facilities around the globe. Safety screenings are in place at these websites for anybody who isn’t a U.S. citizen, he added.

Biden’s job approval scores have dropped amid the continued disaster in Afghanistan. An NBC Information ballot launched Sunday reveals a overwhelming majority of adults surveyed say they disapprove of the president’s dealing with of the scenario in Afghanistan, with solely 25% noting they approve of how he is handled it.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, throughout an interview on Fox Information, mentioned Sunday that 8,000 individuals have been evacuated from Kabul on 60 flights within the final 24 hours.

The U.S. has additionally reached an settlement with about two dozen nations over 4 continents who’re serving to or will quickly assist with shifting individuals out of Kabul, Blinken mentioned.

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs and Brian Schwartz contributed reporting


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