He said U.S.-led forces have expanded the perimeter of and “increased access” to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where people await clearance to board flights as they seek to flee an Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban, which took control of the country last weekend. The Taliban has been “cooperative in extending the perimeter,” Biden said.
“The Taliban has not taken action against U.S. forces” since it overran the Afghan capital, the president said, adding that a local cell of the Islamic State militant group could “seek to exploit” the chaos.
Biden said last month that the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan would end Aug. 31, but he said Sunday that the Taliban’s takeover may force that date to be pushed back.
In his news conference, Biden thanked refugee support groups and others who were helping to rescue and acclimate people who had fled Afghanistan in recent days, and he stressed that those leaving the country would be vetted.
“Anyone arriving in the United States will have undergone a background check,” Biden said, reiterating that planes would not fly directly between Kabul and U.S. airports.