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Biden Commits to Keeping Troops in Afghanistan until All Americans Evacuated

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 10, 2021. (Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters)

President Biden committed to keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan until all American civilians are evacuated in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos released on Wednesday.

Up to 15,000 Americans are currently stranded in Afghanistan following the U.S. military withdrawal, two Senate aides told NBC News on Tuesday. Biden said Americans wishing to leave the country should attempt to get out by August 31, his administration’s initial deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

“So Americans should understand that troops might have to be there beyond August 31?” Stephanopoulos asked Biden.

“No. Americans should understand that we’re trying to get it done before August 31,” Biden responded.

“But if we don’t, the troops will stay?” Stephanopoulos asked. Biden then said, “If we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left.”

“And . . . ?” Stephanopoulos interjected.

“And, if there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden said.

The U.S. has evacuated close to 5,000 people from Afghanistan in the past several days, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters on Wednesday. Around 2,000 people, among them 325 U.S. citizens, were evacuated in the past 24 hours, according to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.

Americans who wish to leave the country must pass through Taliban checkpoints to reach Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday that the U.S. does not have the “capability” to bring stranded Americans to the airport.

“I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul,” Austin said.

U.S. officials have said the Taliban is providing safe passage to American citizens, although chaotic scenes have emerged of crowds outside the airport. The U.S. Embassy warned Americans that their security en route to the airport was not guaranteed.

“THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT ENSURE SAFE PASSAGE TO THE HAMID KARZAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT,” said a security alert from the Embassy stated on Wednesday.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is also a violist, and has served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

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