US struggles to count its citizens in Afghanistan as Biden contemplates delaying withdrawal

US struggles to count its citizens in Afghanistan as Biden contemplates delaying withdrawal

With logistics and conditions growing at Kabul International Airport on Tuesday, the Biden administration will hold talks with allies withdrawing from Afghanistan after the August 31 deadline, which has only eight days to evacuate thousands of people.

The problem has been complicated by the challenges it faces, with the Taliban seizing power faster than expected. Several US officials said the State Department does not know exactly how many Americans were left on the ground, although some estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 were present when the evacuations began.

On Tuesday, President Biden will meet virtually with leaders of the Group of Seven major nations to discuss coordination and evacuation plans, as well as the need for humanitarian aid for Afghan refugees. On Sunday, Biden said he was in talks with his military advisers to extend the withdrawal deadline until August 31.

In response, the Taliban, through direct talks with the United States in Kabul, said they would not recognize the extension, nor would they confirm that the forces that would remain in Afghanistan after August 31 would not be attacked.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Monday that it is difficult to estimate how many Americans are on the ground because many Americans were not registered with the embassy when they arrived in Afghanistan, and many were not deregistered when they left. “Now it is our responsibility to find them,” Mr. Sullivan said.

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