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U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until all American citizens are evacuated, Biden tells ABC News

A Taliban fighter sits on an armored vehicle outside the airport in Kabul on Aug. 16. (Reuters)
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President Biden said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Wednesday that U.S. troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31 if necessary to evacuate any remaining Americans who wish to leave the country.

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"If there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden said.

The United States and other countries operated evacuation flights from Afghanistan into Wednesday, though not all those seeking to leave the country were able to reach Kabul’s international airport. The Taliban erected checkpoints throughout the capital and near the airport’s entrance, beating some Afghans who attempted to cross and intimidating others, according to reports and an eyewitness account.

In one case, a former interpreter for the Australian army was shot by a Taliban fighter as many Afghans crowded at the airport gates.

Days after fleeing Afghanistan, former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani surfaced in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, the Persian Gulf nation’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. He denied accusations that he fled the country with huge sums of cash.

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Here are some significant developments:

  • Thousands of U.S. troops have been flown into Kabul to protect evacuation efforts. Washington has moved some 5,000 people out so far, with an additional 2,000 Afghans relocated to the United States as special immigrants. About 11,000 people in Afghanistan have identified themselves as Americans, while more than 80,000 Afghans may need to be evacuated.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released a statement warning that the U.S. government “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport in Kabul. The United States is in talks with the Taliban about securing pathways to the airport, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said.
  • Several people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday when Taliban gunmen fired on protesters attempting to raise Afghanistan’s national flag.