President Joe Biden has said the August 31 deadline for evacuation of American troops may have to be extended.

The US President said on Wednesday that he will keep troops in Afghanistan until every American is evacuated, even if that means going beyond his August 31 deadline.

“If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,” Biden told ABC News in an interview following pressure from many U.S. lawmakers to extend the deadline for final pullout.

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Biden has come under fierce criticism for his handling of the withdrawal, which in recent days has been dominated by scenes of chaos in and around the Kabul airport with people desperately trying to get out of the country.

But he defended his decision, saying his administration would make no mistake of handing over the unending war to another US president or sending another generation of Americans to fight the war.

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“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he said.

Biden told the press that the Taliban is cooperating for now in helping get Americans out of the country but “we’re having some more difficulty” in evacuating U.S.-aligned Afghan citizens.

However, the Pentagon said the U.S. military does not currently have the ability to reach people beyond the Kabul airport.

“We’re going to do everything we can to continue to try and deconflict and create passageways for them to get to the airfield. I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters at the Pentagon.

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But he also noted that the government is not satisfied with how many people were being evacuated.

“It’s obvious we’re not close to where we want to be in terms of getting the numbers through,” he said.

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