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Monday, December 6, 2021

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    ‘We will get you home’

    Washington — President Joe Biden is pledging to Americans still trapped in Afghanistan: “We will get you home.”

    Biden’s comments at a White House news conference Friday come as the U.S. government struggles to ramp up a massive airlift clearing Americans and other foreigners and vulnerable Afghans through the Kabul airport, rescuing them from a Taliban takeover of the country.

    Biden is facing criticism for a chaotic and often violent scene outside the airport and crowds struggle to reach safety inside.

    President Joe Biden speaks about the evacuation of American citizens, their families, SIV applicants and vulnerable Afghans in the East Room of the White House, Friday in Washington. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken listen.

    Evacuation flights at the Kabul airport had stopped for several hours as of Friday afternoon Washington time because of a backup at a transit point for the refugees, a U.S. airbase in Qatar, U.S. officials said.

    The U.S. commander on the ground later ordered a resumption, a senior administration official said.

    Five thousand evacuees from Kabul were at the Qatar airbase Friday, overwhelming the base’s screeners, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the problem.

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