President Joe Biden said Wednesday the U.S. will keep troops in Afghanistan past his Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline if it is necessary to evacuate all Americans who are currently in the country.
“If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden said when asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos whether troops would stay past the deadline if the evacuation is not complete by the end of the month. “We’re going to do everything in our power to get all Americans out and all our allies out.”
The U.S. military withdrawal was all but complete when the Taliban stormed their way into Kabul and ousted the Afghan government, but Biden was forced to send additional forces back into the country to help facilitate the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies on the ground. There are an estimated 10,000-15,000 Americans still in Afghanistan that will need to be flown out of the airport in the nation’s capital.
“The commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone who should come out,” Biden answered when pressed on whether troops would stay past the deadline to evacuate Afghan allies who assisted the U.S. in its fight against the Taliban. The militant group has reportedly been assassinating Afghan military members, government officials and collaborators with the U.S. as it re-imposes strict Sharia rule over the country. (RELATED: Taliban Reportedly Kills Woman Not Wearing Burqa After Promising To Respect Women’s Rights)
Americans currently in Afghanistan have been told by the State Department to shelter in place until they are told by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which was already evacuated, to make their way to the airport. However, the U.S. government cannot guarantee the safety of Americans who are trying to make that trek to the airport at this time, and some Americans in the country have described scenes of utter chaos surrounding the runway, with Taliban checkpoints and vast throngs of desperate Afghans standing between them and a safe departure home.