The White House took the unusual step of clearing President Joe Biden’s schedule on Thursday, following a deadly attack near the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed several U.S. service members and injured others.
The violence added fresh urgency to the frantic effort already underway to evacuate tens of thousands of Afghans and foreign nationals ahead of Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline for the removal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Biden began the day Thursday the same way he has for more than a week, with a national security briefing on the withdrawal effort in Afghanistan.
Attendees included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Gen. Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mark Milley and commanders on the ground in Afghanistan, according to White House officials.
After that, Biden was scheduled to meet with newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at 11:30 a.m. ET.
That meeting, which was to include an Oval Office téte-a-téte and an expanded bilateral session with aides, was delayed several hours before ultimately being moved to Friday.