September 18, 2021

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WATCH LIVE: Biden Speaks On Afghanistan Evacuation – NPR

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President Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room on the continuing situation in Afghanistan on Sunday. Samuel Corum/Getty Images hide caption

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Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room on the continuing situation in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Update 3:00 p.m. ET:

The White House has pushed back remarks from President Joe Biden about efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline until 4:30 p.m. ET. Biden’s remarks originally were slated for noon and later pushed back until 2 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is slated to brief reporters at 3:30 p.m. ET, the White House said.

The original story follows here:

President Biden will provide an update Tuesday on U.S. efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan, as the administration’s planned Aug. 31 evacuation deadline remains just one week away.

The president is set to deliver remarks at 2 p.m. ET from the White House, just hours after discussing the situation with G-7 leaders.

The remarks come as Biden faces blowback from congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle over his handling of the withdrawal, as well as questions about whether U.S. troops have enough time to get Americans and allies out of the country.

Watch Biden’s remarks below.

While speaking to the press Tuesday morning, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby stuck by the U.S. departure date, saying no change to the timeline has been made.

Approximately 58,700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, according to the Pentagon. As of Tuesday, 21,600 were evacuated in the last 24 hours.

Despite the Taliban’s quick takeover of Afghanistan, the president has defended his decision to withdraw, telling White House reporters on Sunday that he believes in the long-term ramifications of his choice.

“I think that history is going to record this was the logical, rational and right decision to make,” Biden said.

Biden has maintained that his goal is to get all Americans who want to leave out of Afghanistan. He has also vowed to try to evacuate as many Afghan allies who aided the U.S throughout the 20-year war as possible. But the U.S. government does not have solid numbers for how many people want to leave.

On Capitol Hill, concern remains over whether the White House will meet its proposed exit date.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., expressed doubts Monday night.

“I think it’s possible, but I think it’s very unlikely,” Schiff, who also serves as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said.

“Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of SIV’s [special immigrant visas,] the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil-society leaders, women leaders, it’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” he added.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a more direct call Tuesday morning, urging Biden to “forget about the Aug. 31 deadline,” and instead focus on getting more Americans and Afghan allies out of the country.

“The Taliban should not be allowed to tell us how long we are there to get our personnel out. That’s our decision, not theirs,” he said.

People evacuated from Kabul are being held in third-party countries, including an air base in Qatar where there are “very challenging conditions,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call. Officials are working to try to make sure people have enough food, water and medical services. “This is a challenge. We are adjusting and improving as we do,” the official said.

The Washington Post and others have reported on the crowded and unsanitary conditions at the base.
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