“What I do not want to do is talk about the tactical changes we are making to ensure that we maintain as much security as possible,” he said. “We have constantly – how can I say it – increased rational access to the airport, where more people can get there more safely. It’s still a dangerous operation, but I will not go into detail while we do so. ”
The president said the Taliban “has collaborated to expand some of the perimeter.”
Biden also touched on his administration’s increased efforts to get civilians out of Afghanistan, saying 28,000 people had been evacuated since August 14 and went into detail about the activation of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, which is asking US airlines and charterers to help with evacuation efforts.
In a twist from his harsh rhetoric on the subject this past week, the president took a more empathetic stance on the situation in his speech Sunday. But he also reiterated that he was still behind his decision to proceed with the withdrawal, as “the evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul will be hard and painful, no matter when it started, when we began.”
“There’s no way to evacuate as many people without the pain and loss of heartbreaking images you see on television,” Biden said. “It simply came to our notice then. My heart hurts for the people you see. ”
He added that although the US military evacuated about 11,000 people from Kabul in less than 36 hours over the weekend, and that “we see no reason why this pace will not be kept up”, there was still a long way to go. “and” A lot can still go wrong. “
Biden said that while he was hoping to abide by his self-imposed August 31 order to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, his administration was in talks with the military to possibly extend it to continue safe evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.
On whether the Taliban would agree to an extension, Biden said: “It remains to be seen whether we ask that question.”
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