Biden still ‘hopes’ to complete Afghan evacuations by August 31

US President Joe Biden said Sunday he was still planning to finalise the dramatic evacuation from Afghanistan by August 31, but left the door open to extending the deadline if necessary.

In a televised address from the White House on the chaotic exit, Biden said his “hope is we will not have to extend.”

The Pentagon has said that it is formally seeking airlift help from commercial airlines to relocate evacuees from Afghanistan once they have gotten out of their country.

The British military on Sunday acknowledged at least seven deaths at the airport the previous day.

Meanwhile, the Taliban said on Sunday that “hundreds” of its fighters were heading to the Panjshir Valley, one of the few parts of Afghanistan not yet controlled by the group.

Ahmad Massoud, whose forces control the last major anti-Taliban holdout, told Reuters news agency that while he hoped to hold talks with the group, his forces were ready to fight if the Taliban tried to take over Panjshir Valley.

Biden says still hoping for Afghan airlift to end by August 31

US President Joe Biden said he was still planning to finalise the dramatic evacuation from Afghanistan by August 31, but left the door open to extending the deadline if necessary.

In a televised address from the White House on the chaotic exit, Biden said his “hope is we will not have to extend.”

But he added that “we’ll see what we can do” if he is asked by foreign leaders to push back the deadline.

Biden says first priority is to get Americans out

US President Joe Biden has said evacuating Americans from Kabul is the “first priority” of his administration.

Under my direction, the state department continues to reach to remaining Americans … to ascertain their whereabouts and their plans,” he said in remarks made from the White House.

“We’re working hard and as fast as we can to get people out. That’s our mission. That’s our goal.”

Biden added that the US was also evacuating citizens of NATO allies and Afghan allies. Since August 14, more than 28,000 people had been evacuated.

Kuwait approves the passage of 5,000 evacuated Afghans to the US

Kuwait has approved the passage of 5,000 Afghans who will be evacuated to the United States, the Gulf country’s foreign ministry said.

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the subject of relocating Afghan interpreters came up during meetings he held in Kuwait.

Inside Story: Who stands to benefit from the US exit from Afghanistan?

For years, the US military presence in Afghanistan gave it an advantage over rivals in the region.

It also allowed civil and military contractors to make millions of dollars. And the long war opened a window for mineral exploration, estimated to be worth billions.

Now, Moscow and Beijing do not seem alarmed by the Taliban’s takeover and they have already shown interest in supporting the future of Afghanistan.

So, what does this mean for the region?

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