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Dozens of Republican and Democrat lawmakers called on President Joe Biden to extend the deadline for the evacuation as the U.S. State Department and the U.S. military prepare to leave Afghanistan and the 20-year occupation behind — despite the fact that thousands of Americans and allies remain stranded in Kabul and elsewhere in the Taliban-controlled country.
In the hours ahead of an explosion that ripped through crowds at the airport in Kabul where thousands of evacuees are clamoring to board flights to salvation outside of Afghanistan, Reps. Anthony Gonzales (R-OH) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) secured the support of dozens of lawmakers in the House Problem Solvers Caucus to convince Biden to extend the August 31 withdrawal deadline and continue evacuating civilians from Kabul.
Despite the Taliban’s assurances to allow evacuees to peacefully leave Afghanistan, two explosions ripped through crowds of evacuees around Kabul airport, killing 4 US marines and injuring many others, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The total number of casualties has not yet been confirmed by any sources on the ground or U.S. officials.
“As Democrats and Republicans, we stand united in our commitment to protecting U.S. citizens, diplomats, intelligence officers, and our foreign partners who are currently attempting to flee Afghanistan. In this time of tremendous danger, politics must be put aside to advance our common goals,” the group said in a statement.
“From this week’s bipartisan Member briefing, it is apparent that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives,” it continued.
There are roughly a quarter of a million Afghans who worked with the U.S. military, both these Afghans and their families remain in Afghanistan, and have been subject to violence and retribution from the Taliban.
Evacuating so many civilians within Biden’s self-imposed time of August 31 is an impossibility.
Democrat Rep. Seth Moulton and Republican Rep. Peter Meijer, both of whom traveled to Kabul in secret to assess the situation, warned that the U.S. “won’t get everyone out” by the current deadline of August 31 or “even by September 11.”
On Tuesday, Biden rejected calls from U.S. allies to extend the deadline. He made the announcement after his visit with the leaders of Britain, France, and other NATO allies who urged him to keep the airport in Kabul out of Taliban control.
“The sooner we can finish, the better,” Biden said during an address on Tuesday. “Every day we’re on the ground is another day we know that [Islamic State-affiliated] ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport, attack both U.S. and allied forces and innocent civilians.”
“Thus far, the Taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out,” he said. “But it’s a tenuous situation. We’ve already had some gunfighting break out. We run a serious risk of it breaking down, as time goes on.”
Biden’s remarks aged poorly, just two days later on Thursday, ISIS-K performed terrorist attacks on evacuees that killed multiple U.S. Marines.
The New York Times reported:
Even if American forces continue their current pace of roughly 20,000 evacuations per day — a tall order — the estimates suggest the effort will not come close to rescuing the full group of Afghans who may be eligible to leave before President Biden’s deadline to depart, Aug. 31.
Many Afghan interpreters, advisers and others who worked with the U.S. government or American organizations over the past 20 years and their families are eligible for special visas. And many fear retribution from the Taliban and are desperate to leave.
The State Department confirmed on Wednesday that the U.S. government believes hundreds of Americans remain in Afghanistan.
U.S. officials are reportedly attempting to contact each American before the deadline expires.
Article Source : Conservativebrief.com