Biden Says US On Track for Getting Americans out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31

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President Joe Biden said during a press conference on Tuesday that the United States is on pace to complete the Afghanistan evacuation mission by the Aug. 31 deadline as long as the Taliban continues to cooperate.

“We are currently on a pace to finish by Aug. 31. The sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops, but the completion by Aug. 31 depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport for those who are transporting out, and no disruptions to our operation,” said Biden.

Biden said he is asking his team for contingency plans, should the deadline need to be extended, but emphasized that it is his preference that U.S. troops leave on Aug. 31 because staying longer puts them in danger from terror attacks from ISIS-K.

“In addition, I’ve asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plans to adjust the timetable, should that become necessary. I’m determined to ensure that we complete our mission, this mission,” Biden said, adding, “I’m also mindful of the increasing risks that I’ve been briefed on, and the need to factor those risks in. They’re real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration. The longer we stay, starting with the acute and growing risk of an attack by a terrorist group known as ISIS-K.”

Biden said ISIS in Afghanistan is also an enemy of the Taliban, and each day increases the risk of U.S. and allied forces being targeted by the terrorist group.

The White House press secretary confirmed that 57,000 people had been transported out of Afghanistan and that the evacuation effort will stay at the same speed, but troops will need to start drawing down before the Aug. 31 deadline, if that date is adhered to. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the deadline could be extended, but the president would make that decision based on all relevant information at that time.

By Masooma Haq

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