Biden to address nation on Afghanistan evacuation Sunday afternoon
President Biden is scheduled to address the nation Sunday afternoon to provide updates on the administration’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, as pressure continues to mount for his security team to safely transport thousands of Americans and Afghan allies amid growing security threats.
Biden is expected to deliver remarks from the Roosevelt Room at 4 p.m. EST following a closed-door meeting with his national security team in the situation room to receive updates on security in Afghanistan, according to a press schedule shared by the White House Saturday night.
The planned address follows calls with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, during which Biden thanked the leaders for their help in working to evacuate citizens from the U.S. and partner nations. The president also thanked the leaders for accepting Afghan nationals who assisted the U.S. military during its two decades of military operations in Afghanistan.
U.S. military bases in the United Arab Emirates, Spain and other countries have taken in hundreds of Afghan refugees amid ongoing evacuations following the Taliban’s consolidation of power in the region.
Media reports Saturday revealed that the Pentagon was looking to get help from major U.S. commercial airlines to transport Afghan refugees who have traveled to the U.S. bases in surrounding countries.
Capt. John Perkins, a U.S. Transportation Command spokesman, told The New York Times that a warning had been issued to major airlines Friday evening that some of their planes may be needed.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the potential use of commercial planes.
The Pentagon said earlier Saturday that the U.S. had evacuated roughly 17,000 people from Afghanistan within the past week, and 22,000 have been transported out since the end of July.
Among those evacuated in recent weeks, about 2,500 have been American citizens.
Evacuations are becoming increasingly difficult since the Taliban takeover, and U.S. officials have shared instances of Americans and Afghan civilians experiencing violence as they attempt to travel to Kabul’s international airport.
Multiple media reports also said that the U.S. military has been forced to find alternative routes to Kabul’s airport amid potential security threats from ISIS-K directed at those attempting to flee.
On Friday Biden said in remarks from the White House that “where we have seen challenges for Americans we have thus far been able to resolve them.”