As the Taliban take over Afghanistan, the US has now evacuated tens of thousands of people. However, even as President Joe Biden continues to defend the decision, the western nation may soon find itself seeking an extension. Discussions continue, with the President voicing hope on Sunday that such a course of action might not be necessary.
"Discussions are going on among us and the military about extending. Our hope is, we don't have to extend. But there going to be a discussion, I suspect on how far along we're in the process," Biden said during an address from the White House.
According to officials at the White House, the the US has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 30,300 people on military and coalition flights since August 14. Officials say that approximately 35,500 people have been relocated since the end of July.
"Eight US military flights — seven C-17s and one C-130 — evacuated approximately 1,700 passengers from Hamid Karzai International Airport. In addition, 39 coalition aircraft took off with approximately 3,400 passengers," read the latest update from officials at the White House.
"We know that terrorists may seek to exploit the situation and target innocent Afghans or American troops. We’re maintaining constant vigilance to monitor and disrupt threats from any source, including ISIS and the Afghan affiliate known as ISIS-K," Biden explained.
Over the last few days, the Biden administration has been facing tremendous backlash as the Taliban seemingly undid two decades of US efforts in around 10 days to topple the Afghan government and take over the country. Since August 15 the President has repeatedly defended his decision, insisting that there was no "good time to leave Afghanistan.
"Is that worth our national interest to continue to spend another $1 trillion and lose thousands more American lives? For what?" he had asked recently.
Speaking on Sunday, the President reiterated his stance even as he expressed sorrow for the heartbreaking updates coming from the war-torn nation. "There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain & loss and the heartbreaking images you see, it’s just a fact. My heart aches for those people you see. At the end of the day, if we didn't leave Afghanistan now, when would we?" he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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