Joe Biden is sticking by his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the month, defying international pressure from European allies and others to allow more time for evacuations. The US president’s decision capped days of uncertainty about the fate of the August 31 deadline for the final pullout of American military personnel. Clean Up On Aisle 46 Hat Cap. It also came amid growing concerns about the security situation around Kabul airport and the tumultuous effort to evacuate thousands of foreign nationals and Afghans out of the country. “The sooner we can finish, the better,” Biden said from the White House on Tuesday, more than five hours after he was originally scheduled to speak. “Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.
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Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Biden said the US remained on “pace” to complete its mission in the country by August 31, citing an increase in the rate of evacuations in recent days. Since August 14, the US had evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 70,700 people, the president added. At a briefing earlier in the day, Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said civilian evacuations could end even earlier in order to give the military time to “wind down” its presence. On Wednesday evening, the UK government updated its travel advice for UK nationals still in Afghanistan, advising them against travelling to Kabul airport. The security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile,” government guidance said. “There is an ongoing and high threat of terrorist attack. Do not travel to Kabul Hamid Karzai international airport. If you are in the area of the airport, move away to a safe location and await further advice.
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France said its own operation to evacuate Afghans who had worked for the country would probably end before August 31. Clement Beaune, French European affairs minister, told CNews it was “very probable” that operations would stop in the coming days. The evacuees are being taken via Abu Dhabi to Paris. Clean Up On Aisle 46 Hat Cap. Biden warned that meeting the August 31 deadline would depend on the “Taliban continuing to co-operate and allow[ing] access to the airport for those who we are transporting out, and no disruption to our operations”. Biden also said he had asked the Pentagon and state department to develop “contingency plans” for a longer presence if needed.