Biden to spend weekend in Delaware: As thousands of Americans and Afghan allies have been stranded in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s takeover last weekend, President Biden is set to return home to Delaware on Saturday.
The White House has announced that Biden will leave for Wilmington in the afternoon after meeting with his national security team. Vice President Kamala Harris, who is heading to Southeast Asia, is expected to actually attend.
Until Friday evening, there were no public events for Biden on Saturday or Sunday.
The president took a long weekend to leave early Friday morning. But the White House said he had changed his mind.
He spoke on the state of chaotic evacuations from Hamid Karzai International Airport outside Kabul on Friday afternoon.
Later, Biden spoke on the phone with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani from the Executive Mansion.
Saturday is Biden’s 19th visit to his home state since taking office on January 20.
The president faced stiff resistance for staying in Camp David, Maryland, over the weekend as the Taliban took over the capital, Kabul, on Sunday and stormed Afghanistan.
He cut short his trip and returned to the White House on Monday to address the race, saying, “It happened faster than we expected.
Biden’s weekend plans have been in turmoil since the Federal Aviation Administration issued an airspace restriction for Wilmington from Thursday night. The White House on Friday released an early schedule for an afternoon departure from Washington.
Then, shortly before noon on Friday, the White House confirmed that Biden would be in the nation’s capital that night following his address, but kept open whether he would go to Delaware for the weekend.
In his remarks from the White House’s East Room, Biden stressed that Taliban fighters were allowing Americans to pass through checkpoints on the way to the airport – a statement from reporters on Kabul grounds as well as Secretary of Defense Lloyd disagreeing with Islamic fundamentalists who called on members of the House who tried to pass through checkpoints.
The president said al Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan, thus satisfying the US-led NATO force mission that invaded the country in the fall of 2001. However, the day before, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said, “We know that Al Qaeda exists in ISIS in Afghanistan and we have talked about it for a long time.
Biden added on Friday that 13,000 U.S. military aircraft had been flown out of Afghanistan since Saturday, and thousands more had been flown in on private charter flights.
Although the president estimated earlier this week that 15,000 Americans were in Afghanistan, and 65,000 Afghans and Afghan families worked with U.S. forces during the war, administration officials agreed that there was no accurate count of the number of evacuees left.