President Joe Biden on Friday will speak about the situation in Afghanistan following days of chaos for thousands as they try to flee the Taliban.
The speech is set for 1 p.m. ET.
Biden is expected to discuss the withdrawal of American troops and the efforts to get out of the country Afghan citizens who helped American forces over the years.
As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. military had evacuated 7,000 Americans, Afghans and others since the Afghan government began to collapse on Saturday, The New York Times is reporting.
According to The Times, as many as 6,000 people — including former interpreters and cultural and political advisers — were also on standby to be flown out of Kabul’s airport early Friday.
U.S. military and State Department officials have said that the goal is to evacuate between 5,000 to 9,000 people a day.
The top congressional Republicans, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, California, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, asked Biden on Wednesday for a classified briefing with the “gang of eight” — the top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate intelligence committees as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York; McCarthy and McConnell, The Associated Press reported.
According to the story, McCarthy and McConnell want a briefing on the number of Americans still in Afghanistan and the plans to evacuate those outside of Kabul.
A spokesman for Pelosi said she had already requested a meeting with Biden.
Biden has come under sharp criticism since the collapse of the government led to continued chaotic scenes at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. According to the Taliban and NATO officials, at least 12 people have been killed in and around the airport since Sunday.
During an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, which aired Wednesday, Biden acknowledged the situation was chaotic, but added, “No one is being killed right now.”
Biden said there was a possibility that he may extend an Aug. 31 deadline he had imposed on the mission if there were still Americans wishing to leave the country who had not been evacuated.
“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden said.
In the ABC interview, Biden said the chaos at and around the airport was inevitable.
“No, I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that — we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look – but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happened.”
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