The US President said that his country’s forces that are still in Afghanistan may remain there beyond the specified time for their withdrawal.
Joe Biden’s announcement came in response to Taliban militants obstructing the arrival of evacuees to the airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The movement seized power in Afghanistan during the past few days, following the decision to withdraw US forces from the country after twenty years of its invasion.
The US president wants the country’s remaining troops to leave Afghanistan by the end of August, but about 15,000 US citizens are still stuck in Afghanistan.
Biden told ABC News that the turmoil in Kabul was inevitable.
Foreign governments are rushing to evacuate Western nationals as well as Afghans who worked with them.
And impose a US force of about 4,500 soldiers temporarily controlling Karzai International Airport in the capital, Kabul, but the checkpoints imposed by Taliban militants encircle the place.
The Taliban prevents Afghans without travel documents from reaching the airport, but even those with valid documents face difficulties.
It was reported that an Afghan translator was shot in the leg by a Taliban gunman, while the translator was trying to reach the airport on Tuesday night to leave the country on an Australian military evacuation plane.
SBS broadcast pictures of the interpreter as a doctor tries to treat a gunshot wound.
US citizens told CBS that they were unable to reach scheduled flights to evacuate them.
At a press conference on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked whether the US military would be able to rescue Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
And Austin’s answer was, “We can’t go out and gather so many people.”
The US president told ABC News that his country’s forces may remain in Afghanistan to evacuate all American citizens, even if that means those forces will remain beyond the August 31 deadline – the final withdrawal date.
“As long as there are American citizens, we will stay until they are all evacuated,” Biden said.
Biden noted that between 10 to 15 thousand Americans are stuck in Afghanistan, in addition to between 50 and 65 thousand Afghans who were working with the US military.
About six thousand people have been evacuated so far. A Western official told Reuters news agency that these are diplomats, security personnel, aid workers and Afghans.
The US Department of Defense said it aims to expand air evacuations to accommodate 9,000 people per day.
And the US Federal Aviation Administration announced, on Wednesday, that civilian planes were allowed to fly to Kabul to carry out evacuation operations, after obtaining a license from the US Department of Defense.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said US officials have told the Taliban that Washington expects them to allow anyone who wants to leave to do as they please.
ABC asked President Biden if he admitted any mistakes about the chaos that followed the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Biden replied: “No.”
“The idea that there is some way to withdraw without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that could be done,” Biden said.
Biden was also asked about pictures that have spread widely recently of Afghans falling from a US military plane while it was rising in the sky over Kabul.
The US president tried to defend, saying that “it happened four or five days ago.”
Biden said last month that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was “a remote possibility”, an assessment that put him under pressure.
However, he added that intelligence reports had expected that such a thing would not happen before the end of the year.
Biden had also assured Americans in April that the US withdrawal would be safe and orderly.
In an interview on Wednesday, the US president again blamed the Afghan government and army for the Taliban’s lightning control of the country.
Intelligence sources told the BBC that Biden had been aware of the risks of withdrawing, but had nonetheless insisted on implementing the decision this year.
On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund suspended Afghanistan’s access to cash reserves of $440 million – in a move paid by the US Treasury to prevent this money from reaching the Taliban.
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