President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak at 4.30pm about the ongoing efforts by US and coalition forces to evacuate their own citizens as well as Afghan allies and vulnerable individuals from the airport in Kabul following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban.
The speech on Tuesday afternoon comes amid the announcement that Mr Biden has rejected calls to extend the 31 August deadline for US troop withdrawal. The US evacuated 10,400 people on 28 military flights within the 24 hours that ended early on Monday morning with an additional 6,660 people being able to leave the country on 15 C-17 flights over the next 12 hours, according to White House officials.
The administration said on Monday that since 14 August, the US has evacuated or helped facilitate the evacuation of about 48,000 people.
According to the White House schedule, President Biden will deliver remarks on the “ongoing efforts in Afghanistan to evacuate American citizens, [special immigrant visa] applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans, and his meeting with fellow G7 leaders on how our nations can come together in support of the Afghan people”.
Mr Biden is set to speak after meeting virtually with G7 leaders as reports have emerged that CIA Director William Burnes met in secret with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday.
The president has declined to extend the 31 August deadline for US withdrawal to create time for further evacuations – something that the Taliban has said is a “red line” that would be a “provocation” and could lead to “consequences”.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said on Monday that the recent faster pace of evacuations was partly because of coordination with Taliban commanders on getting eligible people into the airport.
“Thus far, and going forward, it does require constant coordination and deconfliction with the Taliban,” Rear Admiral Kirby said. “What we’ve seen is, this deconfliction has worked well in terms of allowing access and flow as well as reducing the overall size of the crowds just outside the airport.”