Biden won’t extend the August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan
President Joe Biden has reportedly decided to stick to the arbitrary deadline of August 31 to withdraw U.S. personnel from Afghanistan amid worries about Americans being stranded behind enemy lines.
Biden has accepted recommendations from the Pentagon to stick with the deadline but asked for contingency plans if the Taliban come around to accept a later date for future evacuations. The White House said he would deliver public remarks later today.
The president has faced a firestorm of criticism after chaotic footage of evacuations from the Kabul airport were shown worldwide, with many people fleeing for their lives as the Taliban took over the city.
During a phone call with the G-7, Biden discussed his decision to leave Afghanistan by August 31. Foreign allies, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, previously requested Biden keep forces in Afghanistan to assist in the safe evacuation of Afghan allies and refugees to the United States and other countries.
The Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen recently said that any extension of the evacuation deadline would be a “clear violation” of the agreement between the Taliban and the Biden adminstaion.
On Tuesday, the White House said that 37 U.S. military flights evacuated 12,700 people, and 8,900 were evacuated by coalition flights over the past 24 hours. However, the White House continues to refuse to give an exact number of how many Americans have been evacuated and how many remain stranded.
“We believe that we have time between now and the 31st to get out any American who wants to get out,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday.