President Joe Biden vowed on Friday (Aug. 20) to evacuate all Americans — and Afghan allies — from Afghanistan as the Taliban continued to take over the country. During a press conference, the president said the United States is pulling off “one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history.”
“Let me be clear: any American who wants to come home, we will get you home,” Biden said. He also said that flights will be given to Afghans who helped in the war, vulnerable women, journalists and others who could be targeted by the Taliban.
“I cannot promise what the final outcome will be … or that it will be without risk of loss,” the president continued. “But as commander in chief, I can promise you I will mobilize every resource necessary, and as an American, I offer my gratitude to the brave men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are carrying out this mission. They’re incredible.”
According to CNN, the U.S. evacuated about 3,000 people from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday (Aug. 19). Biden said that he wants every flight filled to capacity, however, due to the chaotic nature of the evacuation, that may not happen.
Earlier this week, Biden called for all U.S. troops to be removed from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country’s capital, ending the 20-year war. “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said.
Within hours of the Taliban’s takeover, turmoil erupted at Kabul’s International Airport as Afghans rushed to flee the country. Hundreds of Afghans tried to board a U.S. Air Force plane as it attempted to leave and video footage showed several people fall to their death as the aircraft traveled into the sky.