Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby denied on Thursday that evacuations will be ending in Afghanistan in 36 hours.
His remarks came in a tweet. Kirby wrote: “Evacuation operations in Kabul will not be wrapping up in 36 hours. We will continue to evacuate as many people as we can until the end of the mission.”
CNN, attributing its information to a source, had reported there were 36 hours left until the end of the evacuation operations.
The news network had said its source estimated there were about 1,800 local U.S .Embassy Afghan staff still to get to the airport and “36 hours to do it.”
The Associated Press had reported on Wednesday Kirby had said more than 4,400 American citizens have been evacuated so far. More than 80,000 people, mostly Afghans, have been airlifted since Aug. 14, he said.
President Joe Biden is facing an Aug. 31 deadline for U.S. forces to be out of Afghanistan.
“We have seen the public statements by the Taliban spokesman about their views on 31 August,” Kirby said Tuesday in a Sky News interview. “I think we all understand that view. The goal is to get as many people out as fast as possible, and while we’re glad to see the numbers that we got yesterday, we’re not going to rest on any laurels. The focus is on trying to do this as best we can by the end of the month and as the Secretary [of Defense] said, if there needs — if we need, if he needs — to have additional conversations with the Commander in Chief about that timeline, he’ll do that but we’re just not at that point right now.”