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President Biden says U.S. is on track to leave Afghanistan by Aug. 31, if the Taliban cooperates

President Biden also asked for contingency plans in case American troops will have to stay in Afghanistan beyond the deadline.

Updated: August 24, 2021 - 7:21pm

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President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that the U.S. is "on a pace" to get all of its forces out of Afghanistan by Aug. 31 if the Taliban cooperates.

"We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st," Biden said, following his meeting with other world leaders regarding the evacuation. "The sooner we can finish, the better."

"Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops. But, the completion by Aug. 31 depends on the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport for those we're transporting out, and no disruptions to our operations," he said, according to The Hill.

Biden also mentioned that he asked both the State Department and Pentagon for contingency plans in case more time is needed for evacuation.

"I'm determined to ensure that we complete our mission, this mission. I'm also mindful of the increasing risks that I've been briefed on, and the need to factor those risks in," he added. "They're real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration."

Biden also addressed the risk of terrorist attacks near the airport in Kabul as thousands of both Afghan civilians and Americans are trying to evacuate the country. Despite reports that indicate civilians have been intimidated or attacked by the Taliban in some cases, he said that the Taliban has worked to ensure there is access to the airport.

On Monday, the American military evacuated about 12,700 people on 37 flights, which was the largest amount of airlifts out of Afghanistan in a single day, The Hill reported. About 58,700 people have been evacuated by or with the facilitation of the U.S. since Aug. 14.

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