U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be returning to Washington D.C. on Monday afternoon to address the world from the White House on the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
Mr. Biden, who had planned to remain at Camp David in Maryland, through Wednesday, August 18, 2021, cut short his vacation to update the nation on Afghanistan, according to an updated guidance released by the White House.
The president’s remarks will take place at 3.45 p.m. Eastern Time, the White House said.
Mr. Biden’s return to Washington comes after the collapse of the Afghan government following the seizure of power by the Taliban and the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport as thousands of people attempted to leave the country.
Thousands of Afghans fearing a return to Taliban rule are trying to flee the country via Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Videos circulating on social media have shown hundreds of people racing across the tarmac as U.S. soldiers fired warning shots in the air; a crowd pushing and shoving its way up a staircase trying to board a plane; and dozens clinging to the sides of planes attempting to take off.
According to a statement by the airport authority, all commercial flights have been suspended. Kabul airport was overwhelmed on Sunday night, with more than 2,000 people hoping to board commercial flights leaving the country according to media reports.
At least five people have reportedly been killed in Kabul airport as hundreds of people tried to forcibly enter planes. It is not clear whether the victims were killed by gunshots or in a stampede. US troops are currently in charge of the airport and overseeing ongoing efforts to evacuate US nationals.