President Joe Biden addressed the evacuations from Afghanistan Friday, saying there have been approximately 13,000 since it began military airlifts on August 14.

The president added that “thousands more” were evacuated through private flights provided by the U.S. government.

“We’re going to do everything — everything that we can to provide safe evacuation for our Afghan allies, partners, and Afghans who might be targeted if — because of their association with the United States,” Biden said Friday. “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or what it will be — that it will be without risk of loss. But as Commander-in-Chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.”

As of Friday, Biden said the U.S. has been in constant contact with the Taliban, making sure evacuations are allowed to be made safely.

“I don’t think anyone — I don’t think any one of us can see those pictures and not feel that pain on a human level,” Biden said Friday. “Now we have a mission — a mission to complete in Afghanistan. It’s an incredibly difficult and dangerous operation for our military.”

There are currently 6,000 U.S. troops on the ground of Afghanistan.

California’s Response to Turmoil In Afghanistan

Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the turmoil in Afghanistan Wednesday, saying California is already working to welcome refugees from Afghanistan.

“We’re a state of refuge. I’m proud of the fact over the last decade California has taken in more refugees than any other state in America, and I’m proud of the fact a disproportionate number of Afghani refugees are here in Northern California, not just here in the south, but also up in Sacramento County,” Newsom said during a “Vote No” rally Wednesday. “We’re already working in terms of a lot of those refugees coming in and working with CBOs and non-profit organizations to make sure that they feel welcome and celebrated as members of our community.”

In Los Angeles, vigils have been held throughout week, in remembrance of those who died at the height of Monday’s evacuations in Afghanistan. Signs were held reading, “20 years, for what?” and “Free Afghanistan” as members of the community mourned the loss of life.

How The Evacuations Started

On August 14, Biden said the Taliban were informed that any attacks would be “met with swift and strong U.S. military response.”

By Monday, events had quickly escalated when Afghanistan leaders fled the country. That led to the collapse of the Afghanistan military, to which Biden said, “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

“It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not,” Biden said in an August 16 address to the nation. “If the political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down, they would never have done so while U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them.”


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