Joe Biden said that Kabul evacuation is among ‘largest most difficult airlifts in history. Also said they cannot guaranteed to risky evacuation.
Facing a torrent of criticism over the Afghanistan crisis, President Joe Biden on Friday once again addressed the world about the chaotic evacuation of Americans and allies from Afghanistan as the U.S. struggles with obstacles ranging from armed Taliban checkpoints to airport pandemonium and cumbersome red tape.
Speaking on the situation at the Kabul airport, Joe Biden said, “We have secured the airport (in Kabul) enabling flights to resume not just military flights but civilian charters from other countries and the NGOs taking out the civilians and vulnerable afghanis.”
So far, the US has airlifted over 13,000 people out of Kabul since August 14 while every possible effort for the evacuation is underway, Biden said.
“We have almost 6,000 troops on the ground providing runway security and to the mountain division standing guard around the airport (in Kabul, Afghanistan) & marine assisting civilian departure. This is one of the largest & most difficult airlifts in history,” Joe Biden mentioned.
Addressing for the second time in two days, Joe Biden said that Kabul evacuation is among ‘largest most difficult airlifts in history’ and that they cannot guarantee ‘final outcome’ of risky evacuation.
However, President Joe Biden pledged to Americans still trapped in Afghanistan saying, ‘We will get you home.’
‘I don’t think anyone of us can see these pictures and not feel that pain on a human level,’ Biden said, but ‘now I’m focused on getting this job done.’
Biden’s comments at a White House news conference Friday come as the U.S. government struggles to ramp up a massive airlift clearing Americans and other foreigners and vulnerable Afghans through the Kabul airport, rescuing them from a Taliban takeover of the country.
Earlier, evacuation flights at the Kabul airport had stopped for several hours on Friday because of a backup at a transit point for the refugees, a U.S. airbase in Qatar, U.S. officials said. However, they said a resumption was ordered in the afternoon, Washington time.
As many as three flights out of Kabul were expected in the next few hours, going to Bahrain and carrying perhaps 1,500 evacuees in all, said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss military.
In Washington, some veterans in Congress were calling on the Biden administration to extend a security perimeter beyond the Kabul airport so more Afghans can make it to the airport for evacuation. They also want Biden to make clear an August 31 deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops is not a firm one.
Some believe they have only 10 days
The deadline ‘is contributing to the chaos and the panic at the airport because you have Afghans who think that they have 10 days to get out of this country or that door is closing forever,’ said Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., who served in Iraq and also worked in Afghanistan to help aid workers provide humanitarian relief.
Still ten thousands people’s are left to be avacuated:
Tens of thousands of people remain to be evacuated ahead of the United States’ August 31 deadline to withdraw its troops from the country, although the pace had picked up overnight. A defense official said about 5,700 people, including about 250 Americans, were flown out of Kabul aboard 16 C-17 transport planes. On each of the previous two days, about 2,000 people were airlifted.
With desperate crowds thronging Kabul’s airport, and Taliban fighters ringing its perimeter, the U.S. government renewed its advisory to Americans and others that it could not guarantee safe passage for any of those desperately seeking seats on the planes inside.
The advisory captured some of the pandemonium, and what many Afghans and foreigners see as their life-and-death struggle to get inside. It said, ‘We are processing people at multiple gates. Due to large crowds and security concerns, gates may open or close without notice. Please use your best judgment and attempt to enter the airport at any gate that is open.’
While Biden has previously blamed Afghans for the U.S. failure to get out more allies ahead of this month’s sudden Taliban takeover, U.S. officials told The Associated Press that American diplomats had formally urged weeks ago that the administration ramp up evacuation efforts.