US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that he hoped to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, but left the door open to extend that deadline if necessary.
Speaking at the White House about the operation, Biden said his “hope” is that he won’t have to extend the deadline. “We’ll see what we can do,” he replied, when asked by journalists what his response was to foreign leaders asking for more time.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, yesterday considered it “impossible” to evacuate all Afghan collaborators from the Western powers before 31 August. Human rights organizations have also asked Biden to extend the deadline for his country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
A total of 28,000 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14, the US president said Sunday. “It’s an amazing operation. We are working hard and as quickly as possible to get people out.”
Biden said the operation would have been “difficult and painful” even if it had started a month earlier. “We made a series of changes, including expanding access to the airport and the security zone,” said the Democrat, without giving details.
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