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Secretary of State Says There Is 'No Deadline' To Help Americans Leave Afghanistan

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the operation to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan will not end when U.S. forces leave the country.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Blink said, “Let me be crystal clear about this, there is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so along with the many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years.”

“That effort will continue every day past August 31st,” he added.

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He explained that the U.S. will use diplomatic and economic tools to facilitate departures, “We will use every diplomatic, economic assistance tool at our disposal, working hand and hand with the international community first and foremost to ensure that those who want to leave Afghanistan after the 31st are able to do so.” 

Finally, he said, “This effort does not end on Aug. 31. It will continue for as long as it takes to help get people out of Afghanistan who wish to leave.” 

According to the secretary of state, there were roughly 6,000 Americans in Afghanistan on Aug. 14 and 4,500 have been evacuated. He said there are at least 500 Americans still in the country who said they want to leave.

Blinken’s comments come a day after President Joe Biden decided he would stick to the Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

While Biden had said he considered extending that deadline, the Taliban warned there would be “consequences” if he did.

Still, the president said he is optimistic that the U.S. will be able to complete its mission by the end of the month.

However, when asked by a reporter earlier on Wednesday what he would do if Americans were still in Afghanistan after the deadline, the president quipped, “You’ll be the first person I call.”

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