US: Biden, Kamala Harris briefed by national security team on Afghan situation

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US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden

Washington [US], August 19 (ANI): US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed by the national security team on the evolving situation in Afghanistan on Wednesday morning, according to a White House official.

Besides Biden and Harris, the meeting was attended by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, Director of National Intelligence -- Avril Danica Haines; Director Burns, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Ambassador Joseph Charles Wilson, Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, United States Navy rear admiral Peter Vasily, and other senior officials.

During the briefing, they discussed efforts to accelerate the evacuation of US citizens, Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans and other vulnerable Afghans, and to facilitate safe passage to Hamid Karzai International Airport, the official said.

"The President, Vice President, and their team also discussed their focus on monitoring for any potential terrorist threats in Afghanistan, including from ISIS-K," the official said.

On Sunday, the Taliban declared victory after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled abroad and his government collapsed.

Like many other countries, the US started evacuating its nationals and some Afghans with links to foreign governments and organisations.

The US has sent additional 6,000 troops to ensure swift evacuation. The US government has said that thousands of American citizens, locals embassy staff and their families, as well as other "vulnerable Afghan nationals" will be airlifted in the coming days.

At the weekend US President Joe Biden defended the withdrawal of American troops, saying he could not justify an "endless American presence in the middle of another country's civil conflict".

More than 60 countries, including the US and the UK, have issued a joint statement saying the Afghan people "deserve to live in safety, security and dignity", and that security and civil order should be immediately restored. (ANI)

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