New Jersey to welcome Afghan refugees, says Governor Phil Murphy – CBS Philly


TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – Gov. Phil Murphy has said Afghan refugees are welcome in Garden State. He sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday.

“These courageous individuals and families – many of whom have worked to help our military or risked their lives to support human rights and US initiatives – should not be left behind,” Murphy wrote.

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President Joe Biden said on Sunday that “a number of changes” had been made in Kabul to facilitate the ability of the Americans and Afghan allies to flee the country amid emerging threats, and admitted there were discussions on extending the August 31 deadline for the departure of US troops. Afghanistan.

“We made a number of changes, including expanding access around the airport and the security zone,” Biden said, speaking from the White House. Although he said he “didn’t want to go into details,” he said, “more and more people who need to get out are.”

His comments came after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said earlier today that ISIS’s threat against the vast mass of Americans and Afghans at Kabul airport trying to evacuate Afghanistan is “real”, adding that the United States places “top priority” on preventing any terrorist attack.

“The threat is real. It is acute. It’s persistent. And that’s something we’re focusing on with all the tools in our arsenal, ”Sullivan told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on“ State of the Union ”.

Earlier this weekend, it was reported that the US military was establishing “alternative routes” to Kabul airport due to a threat that the terrorist group ISIS-K, a self-proclaimed branch of the Islamic State. , weighs on the airport and its surroundings.

ISIS-K is a branch of the terrorist group that first emerged in Syria and Iraq. While affiliates share an ideology and tactics, the depth of their relationship when it comes to organization and command and control has never been fully established.

Sullivan said US commanders on the ground “have a wide variety of capabilities that they use to defend the airfield against a potential terrorist attack” and that the United States is working with the intelligence community to determine where might come from a potential attack.

“This is something that we make shutdown or disruption a top priority for, and we’ll do everything we can while we’re on the ground to prevent that from happening, but we take it absolutely seriously.” , did he declare. .

Biden received an update from his national security team on Afghanistan on Sunday before addressing developments, although he declined to go into details of the operation on the ground.

“We are working diligently to make sure we increase the capacity to get them out,” Biden said. The operations of the doors have been changed, for example, as well as “a whole range of things”.

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“That’s why we were able to dramatically increase the number of people going out,” he explained.

He said the Taliban had helped “expand part of the perimeter”.

Biden also referred to the negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, and said he still does not trust the group, even though the United States is counting on them to help evacuate the Americans. Biden also acknowledged that the Taliban and ISIS-K are enemies.

“The Taliban must make a fundamental decision,” Biden said. “Will the Taliban attempt to unite and ensure the well-being of the Afghan people, which no group has done since – for hundreds of years.”

“If so, he’s going to need everything from extra aid in terms of economic aid to trade in a whole range of things. The Taliban said… they are looking for legitimacy, ”he said. “We’ll see if what they say turns out to be true or not.”

When asked later if he would support sanctions against the Taliban, Biden replied, “Yes. It depends on the driving.

“Try to exceed expectations”

On “State of the Union,” Sullivan was unable to provide an accurate number of Americans and lawful permanent residents of the United States currently in Afghanistan, but estimated the estimate at “several thousand “.

“We are working hard to organize groups of Americans, to get them to the air base, to get them on flights and get them out of the country,” he said, citing an “operational and logistical challenge in a risky and dynamic environment “.

In the past 24 hours, more than 7,500 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan via US military planes or US-facilitated flights through private organizations and partnerships with other countries, according to Sullivan.

When asked if the United States would eventually take all Americans and their Afghan partners out of the country, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told ABC News on Sunday that “we can’t place, you know, a precise figure on exactly what we’ll be able to do. “

“But I’m just going to tell you that we are going to try to exceed expectations and do whatever we can,” said the secretary, adding at another point: “We are going to do our best to ensure that everyone – every Citizen American who wants to go out – go out.

Biden had previously expressed his willingness to extend the presence of US troops beyond the August 31 deadline, but on Sunday he still expressed hope that this would not be necessary.

“There are discussions going on in the military over the extension,” Biden told reporters on Sunday. “I hope we don’t have to extend it, but it will be discussions.” He said the decision could depend “on the progress of the process” of evacuating the Americans.

Biden was also asked if the G7 leaders – whom he is due to meet next week – were asking the United States to stay longer, would he comply.

“We’ll see what we can do,” he said he would tell the leaders.

This story has been updated.

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The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company contributed to this report.

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