‘It’s still a dangerous operation but I don’t want to go into the detail of how we’re doing that…’ AP Photo: President Joe Biden. (Headline USA) President Joe Biden said Sunday the U.S.-led evacuation of Americans, at-risk Afghans and others from the Kabul airport accelerated this weekend, though it remains vulnerable to threats.
One week after the Taliban completed its takeover of Afghanistan by capturing Kabul, Biden said discussions are underway among military officials about potentially extending the airlift beyond Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline.
“Our hope is we will not have to extend, but there are discussions,” he said, suggesting the possibility that the Taliban will be consulted.
Since Aug. 14, one day before the Taliban entered Kabul, the airlift has evacuated 28,000 people, Biden said.
He said that included 11,000 who had departed from Kabul in a 36-hour period this weekend, but he did not provide details.
The number appeared to include flights by charter and non-U.S. military aircraft as well as the U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 transport planes that have been flying daily from the capital. The U.S. military is controlling air traffic on both the civilian and military sides of the airport.
Tens of thousands of people remain to join the airlift, which has been slowed by security issues and U.S. bureaucracy hurdles.
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Biden asserted, without a full explanation, that U.S. forces have managed to improve access to the airport for Americans and others seeking to get on flights. He suggested that the perimeter had been extended, widening a “safe zone.”
“What I’m not going to do is talk about the tactical changes we’re making to make sure we maintain as much security as we can,” he said. “We have constantly, how can I say it, increased rational access to the airport, where more folk can get there more safely. It’s still a dangerous operation but I don’t want to go into the detail of how we’re doing that.”Later Biden added: “We’ve discussed a lot with the Taliban. They’ve been cooperative in extending some of the perimeter.”He said groups of Americans in Kabul are being moved more efficiently and safely to the […]
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