Evacuations more important than U.S. Afghanistan withdrawal date -House panel chairman

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FILE PHOTO: Chairman Rep. Gregory W. Meeks looks on as Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the Biden Administration's Priorities for U.S. Foreign Policy on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said on Wednesday the U.S. military should stay in Afghanistan beyond the planned Aug. 31 withdrawal date if needed to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies.

"We need to make sure that every one of those individuals that we know put their lives on their lives are out," Democratic Representative Gregory Meek told MSNBC. "If that means we should stay longer, in my estimation, we should do that. If that means, that even if we have to bring more troops in to make sure we can get them out safely, we need to do that."

(Reporting by Tim Ahmann)

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