President Joe Biden has pledged to ensure the safe evacuation of American citizens and US allies from Afghanistan, lauding the ongoing US operation at the Kabul airport.
Biden confirmed in his speech that flights stopped for a few hours. “But our commander on Kabul has already given the order for outbound flights to resume,” he added.
In a speech delivered from the White House, Biden said the United States had evacuated more than 18,000 people since July and approximately 13,000 since the airlifts began on Saturday.
“We’re going to do everything that we can to provide safe evacuation for our Afghan allies, partners and Afghans who might be targeted because of their association with the United States,” Biden said.
He pledged to bring back to the US “any American who wants to come home”.
“I cannot promise what the final outcome will be … But as commander-in-chief, I can assure you that I will mobilise every resource necessary.”
Biden said his priority is to evacuate American citizens, but helping Afghans who aided the US is “equally important almost”.
Thousands of Afghans – some with documents to travel, some without – have thronged outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), begging to be allowed at gates manned by the US and other international forces.