The White House cancelled a conference with governors regarding Afghan refugees in the United States and rescheduled Biden’s first meeting in person with Israel’s prime minister.
Biden had promised to fly every American out of Afghanistan. The State Department reported Wednesday that approximately 4,500 Americans had already been evacuated, and another 1,500 are still at large.
On Thursday, Biden was to host Naftali Bennett (Israeli leader), who is making his first trip to the United States since he took office. The meeting was moved to Friday. Biden had also planned to meet with a bipartisan group governors, who have stated that they would like to assist Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Also, a regular briefing of government health and medical professionals was postponed.
The deadly developments in the Afghan capital of Kabul forced the White House to tear up Biden's schedule. He was monitoring the situation at the airport, which was due to the Tuesday deadline that he had set for the removal of American troops and citizens from Afghanistan.
Many U.S. allies stated that they would end their evacuation efforts in Kabul to allow the U.S. enough time to complete its evacuation operations before it sends more than 5,000 troops out on Tuesday.
In the last days of the massive airlift, thousands of Afghans fled the Taliban-controlled country and were rescued by suicide bombers and gunmen near Kabul Airport.
According to a U.S. official, the attack was "definitely believed" by Islamic State. The group's affiliate in Afghanistan is a result of disaffected Taliban members with radically different views of Islam.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy from California called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call the chamber back into session in order to discuss legislation that would prevent the U.S. from withdrawing until all Americans have left Afghanistan. Because Democrats aligned to Biden control the majority of the Senate, such a return is unlikely.
Biden repeatedly stated that despite intense pressure to extend Tuesday's deadline, he would not change his plan if terrorist attacks on civilians or U.S. military personnel were imminent.
As the U.S. tried to evacuate Americans still inside the country, the explosions erupted. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, stated Wednesday that up to 1,500 Americans could be in danger and needing evacuation.
Ross Wilson, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan declined to answer questions about reports that the evacuation might end on Friday.
Wilson stated that there are safe routes to the airport for Americans who want to stay. He said that there will undoubtedly be some Afghans at risk who don't get out by Biden's deadline.
Despite warnings about vehicle-borne bomb threats close to the airport, the airlift continued on Thursday. According to the White House, 13,400 people were evacuated during the 24 hour period that ended at dawn Washington time. These included 5,100 on U.S. military aircraft and 8,300 on partner and coalition aircraft. This was a significant drop from the 19,000 people who were airlifted by all means yesterday.