Politics

Biden Jokes With NBC Reporter Who Asked Him About Afghan Evacuation

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President Joe Biden on Wednesday joked with an NBC reporter about the evacuation in Afghanistan as thousands, including many Americans, struggle to get out of the war-torn country as the Taliban takes over.

Biden, after he made remarks at cybersecurity summit featuring several prominent business executives, was asked by NBC’s Peter Alexander what he would do if Americans are still in Afghanistan after the August 31st deadline to withdraw U. S. troops.

‘You’ll be the first person I call,’ Biden joked in response.

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended Biden’s remarks, pointing out the president has given numerous updates and gotten many briefings on the situation in Afghanistan.

‘He has also highlighted the fact that we are closely watching closely following the threats from ISIS,’ she said at her daily press briefing.

Up to 1,500 Americans are waiting to be evacuated, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on Wednesday.

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He also said there is ‘no deadline’ on efforts to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.

‘That effort will continue every day past August 31,’ Blinken noted. ‘People who want to leave Afghanistan after the U. S. military departs should be able to do so.’

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Desperate Afghan men, women and children have swarmed the airport in a bid to get out amid fears of an attack from the Islamic State offshoot ISIS-K and 10,000 evacuees are inside the gates waiting to get out.

About 4,500 U. S. citizens and immediate family members have been evacuated over the last 10 days.

As many as 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were in the country when the Taliban took Kabul last week.

The administration has been criticized by Democrats, Republicans and the international community for sticking to its August 31 deadline to remove troops with critics worried the evacuation won’t be completed in time.

Biden said on Tuesday they were on track to complete it by that date.

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His latest remarks came as he enlisted the private sector to help his administration combat malicious online cyber attacks.

‘We’ve seen time and again how the technologies we rely on, cell phones, and pipelines and the electric grid, can become targets of criminals,’ Biden said.

‘The reality is most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector and the federal government can’t meet this challenge alone,’ he said.

JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai, Amazon’s Andy Jassy and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella were among those attending the meeting in the State dining room at the White House.

A senior administration official described the gathering as a ‘call to action.’

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