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# Taliban
Biden: US soldiers could remain in Afghanistan past deadline to ensure Americans get out
The US president said it was not possible to complete withdrawal from Afghanistan without “chaos”.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 19th 2021, 8:04 AM

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden has said that some US soldiers could remain in Afghanistan past the 31 August deadline to ensure all Americans get out.

Biden added that the withdrawal of US troops from the Asian country could not be achieved without “chaos”.

In an interview with ABC News, the US president also issued another defence of the withdrawal.

He was asked if, with the benefit of hindsight, he would have conducted the operation differently.

He responded: “When you had the Government of Afghanistan, the leader of that Government, get in a plane and taking off and going to another country. 

“When you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off, that was, you know, that’s what happened,” he said.  

In response to a question about what his thoughts were when he saw the panicked scenes at Kabul airport he said: “What I thought was, we have to gain control of this. We have to move this more quickly – we have to move in a way and take control of that airport, and we did.”

He added: “No, I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re going to go back in hindsight and look, but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”

Biden said the US forces would do “everything in our power” to get US citizens and allies out of Afghanistan by 31 August. 

He said that he was committed to keeping US troops in Afghanistan beyond the deadline of the end of August if there was a need to repatriate Americans still in the country. 

“It depends on where we are and whether we can ramp these numbers up to five to 7,000 a day coming out. If that’s the case, they’ll all be out,” he said. 

Biden denied that there were 80,000 Afghan nationals identified as allies of the US Government. 

“The estimate we’re giving is somewhere between 50 and 65,000 folks total, counting their families. 

“The commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone who should come out. 

“That’s the objective. That’s what we’re doing now. That’s the path we’re on and I think we’ll get there. 

“If we don’t (complete the extraction by the deadline) we’ll determine at the time who is left and if there is American citizens left we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” he added. 

On the political front, the Taliban continued to edge towards establishing a government, meeting with senior Afghan figures from the past two decades.

Taliban negotiator Anas Haqqani met with ex-president Hamid Karzai, the first Western-backed leader of Afghanistan after the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, and Abdullah Abdullah, who had led the government’s peace council, the SITE monitoring group said.

In the United Arab Emirates, ousted president Ashraf Ghani – who fled on Sunday as the insurgents closed in on the capital – said he supported negotiations between the Taliban and former top officials, and was in his own talks to return home.

Additional reporting from AFP


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