US President Biden Insists Pulling Out of Afghanistan was 'right decision'

World | August 19, 2021, Thursday // 13:08
Bulgaria: US President Biden Insists Pulling Out of Afghanistan was 'right decision'

US President Joe Biden has said US troops may stay in Afghanistan beyond his withdrawal deadline, as armed Taliban fighters kept desperate evacuees from reaching Kabul's airport.

Mr Biden wants US forces out by the end of this month, but up to 15,000 US citizens are stranded in the country.

The US president told in tv interview the turmoil in Kabul was unavoidable.

When asked  if he would acknowledge any mistakes in the chaotic withdrawal, Mr Biden said: "No. The idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens."

Foreign governments are ramping up the airlift of Western citizens and Afghans who worked with them.

Washington has pledged to evacuate all remaining American citizens, along with 50-65,000 Afghans - such as former translators for the US military.

In total, America has evacuated more than 5,200 people to date, including 2,000 in the last 24 hours.

 The Pentagon has told reporters it aims to expand the airlift to 9,000 people a day.

About 4,500 US troops are in temporary control of Karzai International Airport in the nation's capital, but Taliban fighters and checkpoints ring the perimeter.

Since Sunday 12 people have been killed in and around the airport, a Taliban official told Reuters news agency. The deaths were caused by gunshots or stampedes.

The Taliban are blocking Afghans from entering the airport without travel documents - but even those with valid authorisation have struggled.

One Afghan interpreter was reportedly shot in the leg by the Taliban as he tried to reach the airport on Tuesday night for an Australian military evacuation flight. Photos published by SBS showed the man being treated for the gunshot wound by a doctor.

Some US nationals told the CBS News they were also unable to enter for scheduled evacuation flights./bbc

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