U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UPDATED 9:09 AM PT – Sunday, August 22, 2021
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has prepared to potentially extend the deadline of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Speaking with ABC on Sunday, Austin said the Biden administration would update the withdrawal date if the facts on the ground necessitated a longer stay.
He added the Taliban was letting Americans through safely in contradiction to his previous claims of the Taliban assaulting Americans. When asked about the rushed evacuations, Austin said nobody expected the country would fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks.
“There were assessments initially that ranged from one to two years to several months, but it was a wide range of assessments,” he stated. “…It was very difficult to predict with accuracy this all occurred in the span of about 11 days. Nobody predicted that the government would fall in 11 days.”
The evacuation has continued amid unrest in Kabul, with an unknown number of Americans still in need to return home.