US will assist Afghan evacuation beyond Aug. 31

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says efforts to help evacuate Americans and Afghan partners trying to leave Afghanistan will continue past August 31.

Blinken held a news conference on the situation on Wednesday, one day after President Joe Biden said the US intends to meet the end-of-August deadline for pulling its troops out of Afghanistan.

Blinken said there is no deadline on the US work to help any remaining American citizens and Afghans who have cooperated with the US forces over many years.

He said that as of August 14, there were about 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave, of whom roughly 4,500 had been safely evacuated over the past 10 days. He added that the US had been in touch with another 500 and instructed them on how to leave, and that it was still trying to contact the remaining 1,000.

NATO member countries and G7 leaders have expressed concern over the August 31 deadline. They fear they will be unable to evacuate their citizens and partners from Afghanistan by that date.

Blinken's news conference on Wednesday was apparently aimed at reassuring such concerns in light of the Taliban's takeover of the nation.

Blinken also said the US will use every appropriate tool at its disposal to isolate the future government if it doesn't uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people.