Biden will give speech on Afghan fiasco at 1pm today as US scraps plans to charge Kabul evacuees $2k

Joe Biden will address the nation for the second time in a week on Friday, in what the White House say will be an update on evacuations of Americans and Afghan translators from Kabul.

The president gave a speech of quiet fury on Monday to defend his decision to withdraw, blaming Donald Trump and the Afghan army for the swift defeat to the Taliban.

But pressure has piled on the administration in the days since from across the political spectrum as scenes of utter despair and chaos from Kabul airport have been beamed around the world.

Biden’s refusal to accept that multiple intelligence agencies had predicted such a disaster and his suggestion of cowardice on the part of the Afghans, has left allies questioning the reliability of the United States. 

The president said on Wednesday that he believes 15,000 American citizens remain in Afghanistan, and that there are 50-65,000 Afghans the U.S. would like to help leave.

Joe Biden on Monday spoke from the White House and defended his administration's response to events in Afghanistan. On Friday he will once again address the nation - this time to update the public on efforts to evacuate thousands of American citizens and their Afghan allies

Joe Biden on Monday spoke from the White House and defended his administration's response to events in Afghanistan. On Friday he will once again address the nation - this time to update the public on efforts to evacuate thousands of American citizens and their Afghan allies

Joe Biden on Monday spoke from the White House and defended his administration’s response to events in Afghanistan. On Friday he will once again address the nation – this time to update the public on efforts to evacuate thousands of American citizens and their Afghan allies

A U.S. Air Force plane is seen landing at Bagram Air Base on July 1. The base has since been abandoned

A U.S. Air Force plane is seen landing at Bagram Air Base on July 1. The base has since been abandoned

A U.S. Air Force plane is seen landing at Bagram Air Base on July 1. The base has since been abandoned

On Thursday Ned Price, the State Department spokesman, said that they expect 6,000 people to be evacuated on U.S. flights overnight.

And he was forced to announce a reversal of plans to charge $2,000 per evacuee for the flight, after a social media outcry.

On Thursday morning, Politico reported on the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council, which stated in an August 14 advisory: ‘U.S. lawful permanent residents may submit a repatriation assistance request, and their request will be considered depending on availability. 

‘Repatriation flights are not free, and passengers will be required to sign a promissory loan agreement and may not be eligible to renew their U.S. passports until the loan is repaid. 

‘The cost may be $2,000 USD or more per person.’

US Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escort evacuees during an evacuation at Kabul airport on Thursday

US Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escort evacuees during an evacuation at Kabul airport on Thursday

US Marines assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit escort evacuees during an evacuation at Kabul airport on Thursday

Evacuees boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation from Kabul on Thursday

Evacuees boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation from Kabul on Thursday

Evacuees boarding a C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation from Kabul on Thursday

Crowds are seen gathering outside Kabul airport on Thursday, trying to get in and flee

Crowds are seen gathering outside Kabul airport on Thursday, trying to get in and flee

Crowds are seen gathering outside Kabul airport on Thursday, trying to get in and flee 

Pandemonium unfolded at Kabul airport on Monday as thousands of people ran on to the runway in a desperate attempt to escape Taliban rule, fearing bloody reprisals by the Islamists

Pandemonium unfolded at Kabul airport on Monday as thousands of people ran on to the runway in a desperate attempt to escape Taliban rule, fearing bloody reprisals by the Islamists

Pandemonium unfolded at Kabul airport on Monday as thousands of people ran on to the runway in a desperate attempt to escape Taliban rule, fearing bloody reprisals by the Islamists

Thousands of Afghanis had raced on to the tarmac at Kabul airport before some jumped on the side of a US C-17 jet which was flying hundreds of diplomatic staff and visa holders out of the country

Thousands of Afghanis had raced on to the tarmac at Kabul airport before some jumped on the side of a US C-17 jet which was flying hundreds of diplomatic staff and visa holders out of the country

Thousands of Afghanis had raced on to the tarmac at Kabul airport before some jumped on the side of a US C-17 jet which was flying hundreds of diplomatic staff and visa holders out of the country

An unnamed State Department spokesman initially stood by the charge, telling Politico that ‘U.S. law requires that evacuation assistance to private U.S. citizens or third country nationals be provided ‘on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.’ 

Price, however, backtracked by Thursday evening.

‘In these unique circumstances, we have no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan,’ he said, in a statement provided to The New York Post

Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, on Thursday said the president believes U.S. forces will be able to get all Americans who want to leave Afghanistan out of the country by Biden’s self-imposed deadline of August 31. 

Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, said on Thursday that he believes the U.S. will evacuate all their citizens by August 31

Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, said on Thursday that he believes the U.S. will evacuate all their citizens by August 31

Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser, said on Thursday that he believes the U.S. will evacuate all their citizens by August 31

However, Sullivan said the U.S. does not know exactly how many Americans are in the country.

‘The U.S. government doesn’t actually know the precise answer to that question and that’s because we ask every American who comes to Afghanistan to register with the U.S. Embassy,’ he said.

‘But when people leave, they often don’t deregister, and even some who come never register in the first place. 

‘The president is committed to ensuring that every American who wants to leave Afghanistan gets out of Afghanistan,’ he told CBS Evening News. 

‘He believes that we can accomplish that by August 31.’

Biden on Wednesday told ABC News that that was the aim, but he was prepared to be flexible if necessary.  

‘We have plenty more seats on flights than we believe that there are possibly Americans still in Afghanistan, and there is plenty of time to get to the airport,’ Sullivan said.  

He called it a ‘dynamic and dangerous situation’.

Sullivan added that the U.S. has made clear to the Taliban that if they prevent Americans from leaving, ‘they will be met with a swift and forceful response.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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