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forging ahead

Biden to reportedly maintain Aug. 31 Afghanistan withdrawal deadline

President Biden will not extend the Afghanistan withdrawal beyond Aug. 31, a senior administration official told CNN.

The president made the decision in consultation with his national security team, and has reportedly "asked for contingency plans in case he determines at a later date the US needs to remain in the country for longer," CNN reports. 

The move comes amid a chaotic and protracted effort to evacuate Americans, foreigners, and Afghan allies by the end of the month following a Taliban resurgence on the ground in Afghanistan. On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said he thought it "very unlikely" that the administration could complete its mission before then. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was reportedly planning to press Biden to stay in the country longer. But meanwhile, the Taliban has warned the U.S. against violating the predetermined Aug. 31 deadline, calling the date a "red line."

Fortunately, airlift efforts have ramped up in the last few days, "now far exceeding the administration's initial goals," writes CNN. The White House says approximately 58,700 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14. Read more at CNN.