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Biden says U.S. has ‘prolonged way to go and a lot could still go incorrect’ in Afghanistan evacuation

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Biden says U.S. has ‘prolonged way to go and a lot could still go incorrect’ in Afghanistan evacuation

US President Joe Biden responds to questions about the ongoing US military evacuations of US voters and vulnerable Afghans, in the East Room of the White Apartment in Washington, DC, on August 20, 2021.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

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President Joe Biden on Sunday said his administration is considering extending an Aug. 31 deadline to exit Afghanistan.

In a press conference, Biden said the U.S. has a “prolonged way to go and a lot could still go incorrect” amid the chaotic evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul after the Taliban took over Afghanistan one week ago.

“The evacuation of thousands of individuals from Kabul is going to be hard and painful no matter when it started, when we began,” the president said during a press conference at the White Apartment. He said that “our hope is that we will not be going to have to lengthen” the deadline.

“It could have been appropriate if we had started a month ago, or a month from now. There may be not any way to evacuate this many people without pain,” Biden said.

The Biden administration is facing criticism of its handling of the overall U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The withdrawal, announced earlier this year, has been beset by chaos.

Thousands of individuals have crowded the Kabul airport and some even plunged to their deaths after clinging to the exterior of a U.S. military aircraft whereas attempting to leave the nation. Seven Afghan civilians have been killed in crowds attempting the enter Kabul’s airport, according to the British military.

The president said U.S. forces continue to make growth on evacuations from Kabul. Up to 33,000 people have been evacuated since July, including 28,000 since August 14 and 11,000 over the weekend, Biden said.

The president reiterated that Americans are the primary precedence for evacuation out of Afghanistan, vowing that “any American who wants to obtain dwelling will obtain dwelling.”

Biden also defended his resolution to withdraw the U.S. from the nation, arguing that it was the “logical, rational and good resolution to make.”

U.S. protection officials said Sunday that the military is seeking alternative ways to obtain people to the airport safely amid explicit threats from ISIS against the airport. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday warned American voters not to travel to the airport due to safety threats outside the gates.

The Pentagon on Sunday ordered U.S. commercial airlines to provide planes to transport those that have already flown out of the nation to military bases in Europe and the Heart East.

The president emphasized that planes taking off from Kabul are not flying straight to the U.S. nonetheless rather landing at military bases and processing facilities around the sector. Safety screenings are in place at those internet pages for anyone who’s not a U.S. citizen, he added.

Biden’s job approval ratings have dropped amid the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan. An NBC News ballot released Sunday shows a vast majority of adults surveyed say they disapprove of the president’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, with easiest 25% noting they approve of how he’s dealt with it.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during an interview on Fox News, said Sunday that 8,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul on 60 flights in the last 24 hours.

The U.S. has also reached an agreement with about two dozen nations over four continents who are helping or will soon assist with moving people out of Kabul, Blinken said.

— CNBC’s Leslie Josephs and Brian Schwartz contributed reporting

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Biden says U.S. has ‘prolonged way to go and a lot could still go incorrect’ in Afghanistan evacuation