Biden Says US Troops to Remain in Afghanistan Until All Americans are Evacuated 

The Taliban swept through Afghanistan, taking most of its 34 Afghan provincial capitals in about nine days. The insurgent group reached Kabul early Sunday.          Here is the latest:        Aug. 18 — As of late Wednesday, the U.S. military had evacuated nearly 6,000 people from Afghanistan, according to a White House official. Aug. 18 — U.S. President Joe Biden says U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until all Americans are evacuated, even if that means they are in the country beyond the August 31 deadline for withdrawing forces.  “If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay there until we get them all out,” Biden told ABC News. Aug. 18 — U.S. State Department says it expects Taliban to allow everyone who wishes to leave Afghanistan “to do so safely and without harassment.”   Aug. 18 — At least three people died in Jalalabad after what witnesses say was violence by Taliban militants against a group of people who tried to take down a Taliban flag and replace it with the national flag of Afghanistan. Aug. 18 — U.N. food agency director in Afghanistan warns of humanitarian crisis with 14 million people facing severe hunger. Aug. 18 — First Lufthansa flight in Germany’s effort to evacuate nationals, activists and Afghans who worked with foreign forces arrives in Frankfurt. Aug. 17 — Taliban co-founder and deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar returns to Afghanistan.   Aug. 17 — United States says it evacuated more than 3,200 people as of Tuesday evening with aims to increase to between 5,000 and 9,000 per day Wednesday. Aug. 17 — U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan says international community will be watching and “verifying” whether Taliban meets obligations to uphold human rights.    Aug. 17 — The Taliban vow to respect women’s rights “within Islamic law” and form an “inclusive Islamic” government.  They also announce general “amnesty” and urge people to return to work.     Aug. 17 — Flights resume Tuesday at Kabul’s international airport after crowds Monday forced pause in evacuations of diplomats and civilians.    Aug. 17 — India evacuates Kabul embassy, sending 140 personnel on flight home Tuesday.     Aug. 16 — In a nationally televised speech from the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden says he stands “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, adding that “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”        Aug. 16 — Thousands of civilians gather at Kabul’s international airport, where U.S. soldiers fired warning shots as people seeking to escape the Taliban run across the tarmac. Video from the airport shared on social media shows Afghans clinging to the sides of a U.S. military aircraft, while another video shows what appears to be a person falling from a U.S. military plane after takeoff.     Aug. 15 — More than 60 countries call for all parties in Afghanistan to allow any Afghans or foreign nationals to leave the country if they wish to do so.      Aug. 15 — Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a deputy chief and co-founder of the Taliban, says late Sunday, “I am here to announce that we are responsible for your lives and all that pertain to everyday living, and to convince you that we will provide everything to make your lives better.”        Aug. 15 — Top members of the Taliban military commission arrive at the presidential palace in Kabul as Taliban fighters position themselves at key posts in the city. A Taliban spokesman confirms that they have been directed to guard security posts and other installations in Kabul to “prevent chaos and looting after Afghan forces abandoned them.”      Aug. 15 — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issues a statement confirming that he, along with his vice president and other senior officials, has fled the country “to prevent bloodshed.”        Aug. 15 — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is evacuating its remaining staff at its embassy in Kabul.      Aug. 15 — The Taliban reach Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, saying they are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power. Earlier, they took over Jalalabad, capital of Nangarhar province.          Aug. 15 — Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says fighters have taken control of Bagram Airfield and the Parwan prison there and freed its inmates. There were about 5,000 high-value Taliban prisoners at Bagram, which served as the main base for the U.S.-led foreign military mission in Afghanistan.          Aug. 14 — As Taliban insurgents draw closer to the Afghan capital, U.S. President Joe Biden authorizes another 1,000 troops — in addition to the 3,000 ordered earlier in the week — to assist in the evacuation of U.S. personnel and other allies from Kabul.     Aug. 14 — Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, falls to the Taliban after fierce fighting. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid announces in a formal statement that they have fully captured the country’s fourth-largest city, located on the border with Uzbekistan.          Aug. 14 — President Ashraf Ghani delivers a televised address, saying rapid consultations are under way to end the fighting, and calls for revitalization of armed forces.          Aug. 14 — The Taliban seize control of Asadabad, capital of eastern province of Kunar, Saturday afternoon. 

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