Afghanistan: 'I was not going to extend forever war,' says US President Joe Biden

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Watch: 'It was time to end this war,' says Joe Biden

Joe Biden has hailed the "extraordinary success" of the US evacuation in Afghanistan, saying he "was not going to extend this forever war".

The US president has been heavily criticised for his handling of the evacuation of Kabul, which saw more than 120,000 people successfully airlifted from Kabul airport, but left between 100 and 200 Americans behind.

Questions have been raised about why the president did not authorise another day of airlifts after the last air force plane departed Kabul at one minute before midnight on Monday.

President Biden had set Tuesday as the deadline for ending the evacuation and getting the remaining US troops out of the country.

Speaking at a White House news conference this evening, Mr Biden said his 31 August deadline was not "arbitrary" and was "designed to save lives".

Watch: Biden hails Afghan evacuation 'success'

He added that for Americans left behind "there is no deadline" and he "remains committed to getting them out if they want to get out".

"The bottom line is that 90% of those who wanted to leave were able to leave," he said.

President Biden also claimed the US has "leverage" to make sure the Taliban's commitment to the safe passage of Americans is met.

In a written statement on Monday, Mr Biden said military commanders unanimously favoured ending the airlift instead of extending it.

He said he had asked his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to coordinate with international partners to hold the Taliban to their promise of safe passage for Americans and others who wish to leave the country in the coming days.

The Taliban celebrated their victory over the US and NATO troops on Tuesday by firing guns into the air and enforcing their Islamist rule.

Footage emerged of a fake funeral the Taliban held for US and NATO forces in Khost, following the US withdrawal from Kabul.

Images show hundreds of people gathered around coffins draped with UK and US flags, with the Taliban's banner strung across a building nearby.

While information about the gathering is scarce, it appears to mock the departure of Western forces.

Watch: Taliban celebrates as US troops depart

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