Biden asks for ‘contingency plans’ to extend Afghanistan withdrawal in stunning reversal

DM

In an abrupt about-face, President Joe Biden has asked defense officials to put together “contingency plans” for keeping American forces on the ground in Afghanistan beyond the end of this month — despite claiming earlier Tuesday that the White House would abide by the Taliban’s “red line” of a full withdrawal by Aug. 31. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that while Biden had asked for the backup plans, he believes the US is “on track to accomplish our mission” by the Aug. 31 deadline he set to have all American forces out of the country after two decades of conflict. Psaki also admitted that the evacuations of Americans, Europeans and their Afghan allies would have to stop sometime before the 31st in order to buy time for US forces to leave the country safely along with their equipment. “There would need to be time to wind down the presence,” the press secretary said. Earlier Tuesday, Biden met virtually with leaders of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) as well as the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

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