The acting ambassador to Afghanistan signaled that the administration is putting in place plans to ensure Americans and Afghan allies can leave the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops on President BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan MORE’s deadline of Aug. 31.
Acting U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson said in an interview Wednesday that the Biden administration is in “nascent conversations” with the Taliban to ensure Americans still in the country after the exit of U.S. forces will be able to leave safely.
“We believe that there will be possibilities for Americans to be able to get out of this country. That’s been part of the nascent conversations, many of which have been taking place in Doha with the Taliban, about potential ways forward,” he said in an interview with CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.
EXCLUSIVE: Acting U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson tells @NorahODonnell that “we believe there will be possibilities” for Americans to get out of Afghanistan past the August 31 withdrawal deadline, per conversations with the Taliban “about potential ways forward.” pic.twitter.com/tyWA9JIksr— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 25, 2021
The ambassador’s comments come as President Biden is facing immense pushback from lawmakers that the Aug. 31 deadline is not enough time to finish evacuating American citizens and Afghans who worked alongside the U.S. over the two-decade war.
Lawmakers told The Hill that Biden’s top aides agree that the end-of-the-month deadline is unrealistic to finish evacuations, following a classified briefing with Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenHillicon Valley — Blinken unveils new cyber bureau at State World Bank halts Sudan operations in response to coup Senators urge Biden to waive sanctions on India over Russian defense system purchase MORE, Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinRepublican spin on Biden is off the mark Biden remarks on Taiwan leave administration scrambling Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan MORE and Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China Pentagon official warns ISIS-K could be able to attack US in six months Milley: Chinese hypersonic weapons test very close to a 'Sputnik moment' MORE, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But the president is doubling down on withdrawing the military within a week, saying that the added time brings more risk from terrorist threats in Afghanistan.
"We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st. The sooner we can finish, the better," Biden said in prepared remarks from the White House on Tuesday.