The Biden administration says it plans to stick to the original U.S. troop withdrawal deadline of Aug. 31 to complete evacuation of all Americans from Afghanistan amid growing threats from Taliban leaders.
“We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st,” Joe Biden confirmed during a Tuesday press conference. “The sooner we can finish the better.”
Admitting that the United States is relying on the Taliban to ensure safety for Americans evacuating the country, Biden said it it “depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate.”
“Each day of operations brings added risks to our troops, but the completion by August 31 depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate,” said Biden.
The decision comes shortly after a Taliban spokesperson told Sky News on Monday that the United States and United Kingdom will face “consequences” if they seek to extend their military presence in the country.
“It’s a red line. President Biden announced that on 31 August they would withdraw all their military forces. So if they extend it that means they are extending occupation while there is no need for that. … If the U.S. or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations — the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said.
“It will create mistrust between us. If they are intent on continuing the occupation, it will provoke a reaction,” he continued.
Although Biden hopes that all evacuations will be done by the deadline, it is to be determined whether the administration will indeed successfully evacuate all American citizens and U.S. allies in Afghanistan.
Responding to a reporter, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted the administration expects “there could be some” U.S. citizens left behind in Afghanistan after Aug. 31. When pressed for more details, she said “I’m not going to get into it.”
Daily Wire reported that Afghan employees of the United States Embassy are “losing faith” that they will be evacuated as tensions rise between Taliban fighters and Western forces in the region surrounding the Kabul airport.
Biden’s decision to pull out U.S. troops before all civilian evacuations are complete will leave American citizens and U.S allies stranded under Taliban control.