Biden says more than 70,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan

Biden says more than 70,000 people evacuated from Afghanistan
US President Joe Biden said that 70,700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban seized control of the capital Kabul.
2 min read
25 August, 2021
Joe Biden says tens of thousands have already been evacuated from Afghanistan [Getty]

United States President Joe Biden said 70,700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.

In remarks made at The White House, Biden said: "We will continue our close cooperation to get people out as quickly and efficiently as possible."

"The sooner we can finish, the better," Biden said, adding that the aim is to finish evacuations by the self-imposed deadline of 31 August.

The US president told G7 leaders on Tuesday that the United States was "on pace" to complete its pullout from Afghanistan on time, but contingency plans were being drawn up in case the deadline could not be met.

The White House said Biden also told the leaders in a conference call that completing the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of the month depends on "continued coordination" with the Taliban and access for evacuees to Kabul airport.

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The Taliban on Tuesday warned the United States and its NATO allies they would not accept an extension to the evacuation deadline.

Fearing a brain drain from Afghanistan, the Taliban on Tuesday urged skilled Afghans not to leave.

A spokesman for the hardline Islamist group told the US to stop taking "Afghan experts" such as engineers and doctors out of the country.

"This country needs their expertise. They should not be taken to other countries," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a press conference in the capital.

"They should not encourage the Afghan people to flee Afghanistan."

Desperate Afghans looking to flee the country are continuing to amass at Kabul airport, fearing reprisals after Taliban militants seized control of the Afghan capital just over a week ago.

It has led to chaotic scenes at the airport in the Afghan capital, with some 20 people killed in stampedes and shootings, amid a panic to catch flights out of the country before the United States and its allies pull out their troops.

The manner of the withdrawal, 20 years after the US-led invasion to oust the Taliban following the 11 September 2001 attacks, has strained tensions between Washington and other Western capitals.