Biden says US troops will stay in Afghanistan until every American who wants to leave the country has gotten out

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Biden says US troops will stay in Afghanistan until every American who wants to leave the country has gotten out
President Joe Biden pauses while giving remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on August 16, 2021. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • Biden told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that the US is committing to getting every American out of Afghanistan.
  • He has set an August 31 deadline to get US troops out of Afghanistan.
  • Biden said there are 50,000 to 60,000 Afghans and their families that the US wants to evacuate.

The US will keep troops in Afghanistan until every American who wants to leave the country has gotten out, President Joe Biden told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

In the August 18 interview, Biden told Stephanopoulos the US will try to complete its troop evacuation by August 31. While Biden stopped short of saying troops will remain in Afghanistan past this deadline, he said the US would "determine at the time who's left."

"... if there's American citizens left, we're gonna stay to get them all out," Biden told Stephanopoulos.

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The White House did not immediately reply to Insider's request for comment for this story.

There are 10,000 to 15,000 Americans who need to be evacuated from Afghanistan, Biden said in the interview. He estimated that the administration wants to evacuate an additional 50,000 to 60,000 Afghan allies and family members from the country.

"It depends on where we are and whether we can get to ramp these numbers to five, to 7,000 a day coming out. If that's the case, they'll all be out," Biden said of meeting the August 31 evacuation deadline.

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"The commitment holds to get everyone out," the president said.

More than 270,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Afghanistan this year while fleeing the Taliban's advances, the United Nations estimated in a July 13 report.

The Taliban stormed Kabul on August 15. According to CNN, as of August 17, the US has evacuated more than 3,200 people on 13 flights. This number includes more than 1,100 US citizens and permanent residents, and more than 2,000 Afghan special immigrants and their families.

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Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor said in an August 18 Pentagon briefing that the US is aiming to have one flight departing Afghanistan every hour, per Reuters. The eventual goal is to move 5,000 to 9,000 people out of Afghanistan every day, per Bloomberg.

While the Taliban pledged this week to guarantee "safe passage" to civilians out of Afghanistan, people are being beaten by the Taliban on their way to Kabul's Hamid Karzai airport. Reports have described chaotic scenes at the airport, with people swarming the airport tarmac, scaling a jet bridge, and clinging to the sides of a US Air Force plane as it taxied down the runway.

A State Department security alert released on Wednesday said the US "cannot ensure safe passage" for Americans still in Afghanistan. The US embassy is prioritizing US citizens and legal permanent residents in its evacuation process, per the security alert.

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