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  • War in Afghanistan (2001-present)

image sourceGetty Imagesimage captionMr Biden has staunchly defended the US withdrawal

US President Joe Biden has continued to defend the chaotic evacuation effort out of Kabul as desperation grows for those still stranded in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the White House, Mr Biden said the US had evacuated 13,000 people to date in "one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history".

Mr Biden has promised to bring home all remaining Americans, along with 50-65,000 Afghans who assisted US troops.

He has faced international criticism over the Taliban's rapid takeover.

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Taking questions from reporters, the president said the US military would make the "same commitment" to Afghan allies hoping to leave, before clarifying that the evacuation of US citizens was the "priority".

"Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home," Mr Biden said.

But he also noted the danger of the ongoing mission, saying "I cannot promise what the final outcome will be".

The Biden administration has been probed repeatedly this week on how the US intelligence service seemed to so seriously misjudge the situation in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Mr Biden again rejected the notion of an intelligence failure, saying there was a "consensus" among officials that the Taliban surging to power this quickly was "highly unlikely".

The president also pushed back on the suggestion that events in Afghanistan had tarnished the US' reputation on the world stage, insisting there had been "no question of our credibility from our allies around the world".

Describing the war in Afghanistan as a "joint effort" with allied countries, Mr Biden said he would convene a meeting with G7 allies to discuss next steps.

The president, who has staunchly defended the US withdrawal, acknowledged that the scenes out of Kabul in recent days were "heartbreaking".

Thousands of Americans, Afghan allies and others have been evacuated from Afghanistan by both US military planes and commercial flights.

Tens of thousands of people are still waiting to be evacuated ahead of the looming 31 August deadline for the US withdrawal. Mr Biden suggested earlier this week he would consider keeping US forces in Afghanistan beyond the deadline to ensure the evacuation of all US citizens.

The US has nearly 6,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan to assist with the evacuation effort and maintain control at the airport in Kabul, Mr Biden said.

But those seeking to leave Afghanistan face massive crowds, violence and Taliban checkpoints just to reach the airport.

Asked by reporters on Friday if the US would consider expanding its security perimeter outside the airport, Mr Biden said such a move would likely lead to "unintended consequences". He did not specify what those might be.

Biden tries to win back public after backlash

Analysis by Tara McKelvey, BBC White House reporter

Joe Biden struck a note of compassion during his speech, and said he did not think anyone could "see those pictures and not feel pain".

He was referring to the horrifying images of people trying to flee Afghanistan. His remarks sounded like the old Biden, the leader who was known for his empathy.

It was different from the remarks that he made earlier in the week, when he struck a defiant tone about his decision to withdraw the troops. Voters – both Democrats and Republicans – wonder about his strategy, and resent the way that he blamed others, whether Donald Trump or the Afghan army, for the catastrophe.

His approval rating is now at its lowest point – 49% – since taking office, according to the poll tracker FiveThirtyEight, showing many people have misgivings about his leadership.

The president is trying to win them back, but for many, his efforts are too little, too late.