By John Ikani
U.S. troops may stay in Afghanistan past an Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate Americans, President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay to get them all out,” Mr. Biden told ABC News on Wednesday
“Americans should understand that we’re going to try to get it done before August 31. … If we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who’s left,” he said.
The potential commitment to extending American forces’ stay in Afghanistan for evacuations past the end of the month does not necessarily apply to extending US-led evacuations for Afghans who worked with the US during the war.
Biden said the US estimates between 50,000-65,000 Afghan partners and their families are trying to get out of the country. In order to get them out of the country before the August 31 deadline, the President said, evacuations will have to ramp up.
Asked if he would keep US troops there if they weren’t all out, Biden said, “the commitment holds to get everyone out that, in fact, we can get out and everyone that should come out. … That’s the path we’re on. And I think we’ll get there.”
The President also defiantly defended his administration’s execution of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying that he doesn’t think the crisis represents a failure and there was no way to better handle the drawdown.