President Biden said Wednesday that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until all Americans who want to get out of the country have been evacuated, even if it means staying beyond the Aug. 31 deadline set for the withdrawal of forces.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview.
Biden’s commitment comes as government officials have estimated there are more than 10,000 Americans still in Afghanistan as the U.S. drawdown nears its completion.
The president vowed that the government will do “everything in our power to get all Americans out and our allies out,” but acknowledged doing so by the end of the month would require significantly increasing the number of individuals evacuated on flights each day.
“Are you committed to making sure that the troops stay until every American who wants to be out is out?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Biden responded.
The president estimated there are between 50,000 and 65,000 Afghan allies, including family members, who are also waiting to be evacuated. That process has been slowed by paperwork issues and logistical barriers getting those individuals safely to the Kabul airport to be evacuated either to the U.S. or third-party countries.