Biden hopes to end Afghanistan evacuation on time

Added On August 23, 2021

Speaking about the ongoing evacuation at the White House, Biden mentioned that there are discussions going on about extending the Aug. 31 deadline, but his hope is, quote, "we will not have to extend." Biden in July ordered the U.S. military to end its mission in Afghanistan by the end of this month. The United States has been scrambling to evacuate Americans and its Afghan partners from the country since the Taliban entered the capital Kabul on Aug. 15. Biden said the U.S. and coalition aircraft have evacuated about 28,000 people since Aug. 14. He said the United States is executing a plan to move Americans to the Kabul airport compound and had extended access and the safe zone around the airport. The president also noted the security environment is changing rapidly on the ground, pointing to potential terrorist threats from the local affiliate of the Islamic State. Earlier in the day, the Pentagon activated the Stage one of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, or CRAF, which provides the Pentagon access to commercial air mobility resources to support evacuation from Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon, the commercial planes would not fly into Kabul airport. U.S. Military aircraft will focus on operations in and out of Kabul, and commercial planes will be used for the onward movement of passengers from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases. This is the third time in history the U.S. military has activated the CRAF. The first was for the Gulf War and the second for the Iraq War.