Afghanistan evacuation: 'The system is broken' says CNN reporter
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US President Joe Biden suggested his troops would stay in Afghanistan until the evacuation of Americans is complete, even if that runs past the August 31 deadline for withdrawal. But Ms Ward said a “trickle” is each day is not enough. She said: “You need potentially to evacuate tens of thousands of people; 50 to 60 thousand people.
“A trickle managing to get in every day is just not going to cut it. The system is broken and it needs to be reworked.”
She added: “You have to ask yourself, what kind of a man is going to bring his wife and children into that tornado of insanity outside the airport, it takes a lot of guts.
“There’s such a lack of uncertainty that you’re even able to get in.
“We have seen and heard these reports and our British colleagues who are staying in the area where the British paratroopers are have heard and spoken directly to British soldiers who say that they have seen people so desperate that they are passing and throwing their babies over the razor wire to try and get them into safety.
“I can’t even fathom what level of desperation an individual needs to be at where they are literally throwing their baby over razor wire to try and get them to safety.”
Biden has come under fierce criticism for his handling of the withdrawal, which in recent days has been dominated by scenes of chaos in and around the Kabul airport with people desperately trying to get out of the country.
Biden defended his decisions, saying problems were inevitable in ending the 20-year US involvement there.
“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.
Joe Biden claims 'chaos' was inevitable in Kabul
He also said the Taliban is cooperating for now in helping get Americans out of the country but “we’re having some more difficulty” in evacuating US-aligned Afghan citizens.
The speed with which Taliban forces retook Afghanistan, as US and other foreign forces withdrew, has led to chaotic scenes at the airport with diplomats, foreign citizens and Afghans trying to flee but they are being impeded by crowds and Taliban checkpoints.
“We’re going to do everything we can to continue to try and deconflict and create passageways for them to get to the airfield. I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters at the Pentagon.
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A top US diplomat separately said on Wednesday the United States expects the Taliban to allow Afghans who wish to leave Afghanistan to depart safely.
Austin said the United States was not satisfied with how many people were being evacuated.
“It’s obvious we’re not close to where we want to be in terms of getting the numbers through,” he said.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris discussed ways to accelerate evacuations of Americans and refugees from Afghanistan with his national security team on Wednesday, a White House official said.
Biden did not take questions after delivering a White House speech about coronavirus vaccine booster shots, turning his back and walking away as reporters shouted.
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