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Biden says US and allies ‘stand side by side’ on Afghanistan – would not reveal how Americans exit Kabul after August 31

President Joe Biden said the United States was “on track” to complete the evacuation efforts from Afghanistan by August 31, if the Taliban cooperated, but could not say how many Americans remained. nor what was the plan after the deadline.

Biden’s address was originally scheduled for Tuesday at noon, but was postponed for reasons that were not explained. Briefings scheduled by the State Department and the Pentagon have both been canceled.

Finally arriving just after 5 p.m., Biden opened his remarks by speaking about his national economic agenda to Congress, before addressing Afghanistan. He reiterated the talking points from the previous week on ending the 20 Years War and spoke about US coordination and cooperation with the G7, NATO, the UN and the EU.

The United States and its allies are ” on the beat “ complete the airlift by August 31, but the Pentagon and State Department have been urged to “emergency plans” in case it turns out to be the opposite, Biden said, noting that the success of the operation depends on the continued cooperation of the Taliban.

Biden, however, could not say how many Americans are among the more than 70,000 people who have flown from Kabul since August 14. He delegated this task to Secretary of State Antony Blinken – to be announced on Wednesday.

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So far, the only estimate of the number of Americans evacuated from Kabul comes from Politico, which cited a leaked cable by the State Department indicating that 4,407 U.S. citizens were airlifted on Monday afternoon, on a total of 26,582.

Following the reported visit to Kabul by CIA Director William Burns, the Taliban announced that there could be no extension of the deadline for the United States to leave Afghanistan. United States “Has the resources” complete the evacuation of its citizens by the end of the month, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told media.

A White House official then told Reuters that Biden decided to follow Pentagon recommendations and have all US troops and civilians leave Afghanistan permanently by August 31.

Some US troops deployed to secure Kabul airport have already started to leave, the Pentagon told reporters on Tuesday, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, other American citizens in Kabul were ordered to “avoid traveling to the airport” unless they receive “Individual instructions from a representative of the US government to do so”, quoting “Security threats outside the gates”.

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The White House was caught off guard by the complete collapse of the US-backed Afghan government on August 14. With the Taliban controlling Kabul and surrounding Hamid Karzai International Airport, thousands of Westerners must pass through the group’s checkpoints. – and vying for seats on outbound flights with tens of thousands of Afghans also seeking to leave the country.

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