Biden says U.S. has ‘long way to go and a lot could still go wrong’ in Afghanistan evacuation

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US President Joe Biden responds to questions in regards to the ongoing US navy evacuations of US residents and susceptible 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 his administration is contemplating extending an Aug. 31 deadline to exit Afghanistan.

In a press convention, Biden mentioned the U.S. has a “lengthy method to go and so much may nonetheless go mistaken” amid the chaotic evacuation of People and Afghan allies from Kabul after the Taliban took over Afghanistan one week in the past.

“The evacuation of hundreds of individuals from Kabul goes to be exhausting and painful irrespective of when it began, once we started,” the president mentioned throughout a press convention on the White Home. He mentioned that “our hope is that we are going to not have to increase” the deadline.

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

The Biden administration is going through criticism of its dealing with of the general U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The withdrawal, introduced earlier this yr, 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. navy plane whereas making an attempt to depart the nation. Seven Afghan civilians had been killed in crowds making an attempt the enter Kabul’s airport, based on the British navy.

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

The president reiterated that People are the primary precedence for evacuation out of Afghanistan, vowing that “any American who needs to get house will get house.”

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 navy is in search of alternative routes to get folks to the airport safely amid particular threats from ISIS towards the airport. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday warned Americans to not journey to the airport as a consequence of safety threats exterior the gates.

The Pentagon on Sunday ordered U.S. industrial airways to offer planes to move individuals who have already flown in a foreign country to navy bases in Europe and the Center East.

The president emphasised that planes taking off from Kabul aren’t flying on to the U.S. however quite touchdown at navy bases and processing facilities all over the world. Safety screenings are in place at these websites for anybody who will not be 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 folks 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 transferring folks out of Kabul, Blinken mentioned.

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs and Brian Schwartz contributed reporting

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