US service members can stay in Afghanistan until the end of this month if they need to. Evacuation of US citizens And NATO’s Afghan allies Taliban-controlled country.President Joe Biden said Wednesday.
“We will do everything in our power to get all Americans and our allies out,” Biden said. Told ABC News’ George Stefanopoulos. In an exclusive interview
“Does that mean troops will stay ahead of August 31 if needed?” Stefanopoulos asked.
Biden replied, “It depends on where we are, and what we can achieve.” If so, they will all be out. [by Aug. 31]. ”
Biden confirmed with Stefanopoulos approval that between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans are in Afghanistan. The Taliban recaptured Kabul at the weekend
The fall of the capital culminated in an attack by an Islamic fundamentalist group that repulsed Afghan security forces and overran the country’s four largest cities in 96 hours.
“Are you committed to making sure the troops stay as long as every American who doesn’t want to go out goes out?” Stefanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Biden said before repeating, “yes.”
The president added that the administration estimates that 50,000 to 65,000 Afghans working with Western forces are still in the country, including their families. Afghan veterans of the Afghan war have warned that their one-time comrades on the battlefield could face a brutal retaliation by the Taliban.
“Is the commitment to them too?” Stefanopoulos inquired.
“The commitment is to get everyone out so that we can actually get out and everyone who needs to get out,” the president said. And that’s the goal. That is what we are doing now. That is the way we are going. I think we’ll get there. “
“So Americans must understand that troops can be there after August 31.” Stefanopoulos asked.
“No,” Biden replied. “Americans must understand that we will try to complete it before August 31.”
“But if we don’t, the troops will stay,” Stefanopoulos said.
“If we don’t, we’ll decide who is released,” Biden intervened.
“And?” Stefanopoulos asked.
“And if you’re an American force – if there are American citizens left, we’re going to get them all out,” Biden said.
Taliban spokesman Sunil Shaheen on Tuesday Told Sky News in the UK. That all US forces be called back until the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which is recorded in Biden’s history. Announcing the actual evacuation In April. “The Taliban are determined not to attack US forces and we did not attack,” Shaheen added.
Pentagon officials estimate that 5,000 to 9,000 people a day can be evacuated from Hamid Karzai International Airport on the outskirts of Kabul, assuming that operations have fully resumed. However, Taliban sanctions and other obstructions have led to reports of empty planes landing near the airport, with hundreds of Afghans calling for boarding.
“We’re working hard to reach as many people as possible,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. “And, frankly, we’re not – it’s clear we’re not close to where we want to be in terms of numbers.
“So we’re going to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And we’re going to get everyone we can possibly vacate. And I’ll do it as long as we can.” Maybe until the clock runs out or our capacity runs out.
Austin added that US forces “are not capable of going out and gathering large numbers of people” who are trapped in Taliban territory. Meanwhile, the State Department has sent security bulletins urging Americans inside Afghanistan to go to the airport, but warned that their safety is not guaranteed.