Joe Biden’s national security team has warned him that US troops remain under threat of another terrorist attack just 24 hours after the devastating suicide bomb at Kabul airport that killed 13 US service members and at least 170 Afghans.
As US troops brace themselves for a possible further terror attack, the US president was facing mounting bipartisan criticism over his handling of the mass evacuation. The recriminations following the deadliest day for the US military in a decade came not only from familiar Republican antagonists but also from prominent members of his own party.
US forces are racing against the clock to meet Tuesday’s deadline to complete the withdrawal from Afghanistan and bring to an end almost 20 years of the so-called “forever war”. But security risks continue to cause alarm.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged the Biden administration did not anticipate how quickly the Afghan government would fall or how completely the Afghan military would fold.
“There are consequences to any of these difficult choices and decisions,” Psaki said. “That is what faces you as commander-in-chief.”
Psaki was asked whether Biden believed he was given bad advice from his generals on Afghanistan and if the president will be requesting any resignations.
“No to both of those questions,” she replied.
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The White House says 5,100 US citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14th and it is working with 500 citizens to help them leave the country.
Here is more from Turkey’s President Erdoğan, who said a battle of “terrorist organisations” had taken hold in Afghanistan.
We did what we were responsible for and as of tonight, all our personnel there has been withdrawn,” Erdoğan said at a press conference in Sarajevo, alongside Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders.
“There will only be a small technical group left.”
He said it was unclear what kind of conflict the Taliban and Islamic State would engage in in Afghanistan, Reuters reports.
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The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is holding her daily press briefing.
She was asked to clarify Joe Biden’s message yesterday to the terrorists who carried out the deadly attack. Biden said in his address to the nation yesterday: “To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: we will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Asked what it would look like for Biden to make the terrorists pay, Psaki said: “I think he made clear yesterday that he does not want them to live on the Earth any more.”
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Turkey has become the latest country to stop evacuations from Afghanistan.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a technical group of Turks would remain in the country, Reuters reports.
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The US president, Joe Biden, has directed the Department of Homeland Security to take the lead in relocating Afghans fleeing their country and coming to the US, the White House said.
“Already, DHS has been working closely with agencies across government, including our military, diplomats, intelligence community and law enforcement professionals, and many others to ensure that all Afghans are screened and vetted prior to being allowed into the United States,” the White House spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told reporters.
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Afghans with valid documents will be able to travel in the future at any time, a senior Taliban official said in a televised address aimed at calming fears the movement planned harsh restrictions on freedom.
“The Afghan borders will be open and people will be able to travel at any time into and out of Afghanistan,” Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, deputy head of the movement’s political commission, said.
Calling on Afghans to unite to rebuild their country, Stanikzai said that trained and educated people should come back to work, Reuters reports.
“The ground is prepared for the doctors, engineers and teachers that Afghanistan needs and for people from every profession, whether civilian or military. All are invited to start their work,” he said.
However, CNN has reported that Taliban members manning checkpoints have started turning away some US passport holders and permanent residents.
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The Taliban will ask Qatar for technical assistance in operating Kabul airport, the Al Jazeera news channel reported.
The Taliban have asked Turkey for technical help to run the airport after next Tuesday’s deadline for all foreign military forces to pull out of Afghanistan, an ultimatum they say applies equally to Turkish troops.
Earlier today, two officials told Reuters Turkey will not help run the airport after Nato’s withdrawal unless the Taliban agree to a Turkish security presence, after deadly attacks outside the airport highlighted the perils of any such mission.
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The UK’s Ministry of Defence says former Royal Marine Paul “Pen” Farthing, who runs an animal sanctuary in Afghanistan, and his pets are being helped out of the country.
Ministry of Defence Press Office
Pen Farthing and his pets were assisted through the system at Kabul airport by the UK Armed Forces. They are currently being supported while he awaits transportation.
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US advisers told President Joe Biden that the next few days of the evacuation mission from Afghanistan would be the most dangerous to date, the White House said, after an attack in Kabul left scores dead, Reuters reports.
The advisers told Biden that another attack in Kabul is likely, even as they prepared plans to strike Islamic State militants in response to the first incident, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, adding that US commanders told Biden they have the resources they need.
“The next few days of this mission will be the most dangerous period to date,” Psaki said.
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Source by www.theguardian.com