US President Joe Biden to decide on Afghanistan evacuation deadline in 24 hours
Biden cautioned that the evacuation would be "hard and painful" and that many things might still go wrong on Sunday. According to him, US forces may stay until the August 31 deadline to supervise the evacuation.
With hundreds of terrified Afghans and Westerners gathered at Kabul's airport in the expectation of escape Afghanistan's new Taliban overlords, US President Joe Biden is likely to make a decision as early as Tuesday on whether to extend an August 31 deadline for airlifting Americans and friends to safety. Biden cautioned that the evacuation would be "hard and painful" and that many things might still go wrong on Sunday. According to him, US forces may stay until the August 31 deadline to supervise the evacuation.
An administration official informed the media on Monday that Biden will decide within 24 hours whether to extend the deadline to provide the Pentagon time to prepare. Aside from the necessity to withdraw thousands of Americans, nationals of friendly nations, and Afghans who assisted US forces, Defense Department officials said it would still take days to fly out the 6,000 troops assigned to secure and manage the airlift.
For security considerations, several Biden aides argued against extending the self-imposed deadline. On Tuesday, Biden might make his plans known during a virtual summit of the Group of Seven affluent nations. Two US officials stated that it was expected that evacuations would continue through August 31.
Later on Monday, Democratic US Representative Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters following an intelligence briefing on Afghanistan that he did not believe the evacuation could be completed in the eight days remaining. According to a Taliban spokesman, Western forces have not requested an extension and would not be given one if they do. Negotiations, according to Washington, are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, the White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the US is in daily negotiations with the Taliban and making "enormous progress" in removing Americans and others. On Monday, about 10,900 individuals were evacuated from Kabul, bringing the total number of persons evacuated by the US to 48,000 since August 14. Given worries about reaching the airport, terrorist threats, and lengthy processing delays, US defence officials informed everyone virtually everything about how evacuations would go smooth-free.