President Biden keeps August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan: 'The sooner we finish the better'

 President Joe Biden said Tuesday the US is on track to complete its hurried airlift in Afghanistan by August 31, acknowledging he does not plan to keep American troops in the country any longer even as questions remain over who will be able to leave and when.

In late afternoon remarks at the White House, Biden recognized the success of the mission will depend largely on cooperation from the Taliban. He said he's asked military leaders to be ready with contingency options to "adjust that timetable" if it becomes necessary.
"We are currently on a pace to finish by August 31. I am determined to complete our mission," Biden said in a speech that was delayed by hours.
    Still, he said meeting that deadline "depends on the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport to those who are transporting out and no disruptions to our operation."
      "The sooner we finish the better," Biden said. "Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops."
      Earlier in the day, Biden relayed his decision on sticking to the end-of-month deadline in crisis talks with the Group of 7, making clear the decision was in large part driven by persistent security risks.
      "It is a tenuous situation," he said in his remarks, describing an "acute" risk of attack from the ISIS affiliate operating in Afghanistan.

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