Despite reported British concerns that U.S. soldiers could leave at any time, U.S. President Joe Biden has stated that U.S. troops “are going to stay” in Afghanistan until all American citizens are out.

However, Whitehall and security sources said they could not predict how long the U.S.’s 6,000 troops would stay on the ground but warned that the UK would not be able to continue the rescue without them. According to the Guardian, they also stated that after the Taliban grabbed control of Afghanistan’s capital, Britain would not engage with the militant organization directly on security or other issues.

The Whitehall official also claimed the UK intended to finish its evacuation as soon as possible due to uncertainty over the Taliban’s actions and the U.S. position, saying: “There’s a realistic view that we want to just go as quickly as possible.”

On Friday, Aug. 20, the United States announced that it had flown about 13,000 people out of the country since Aug. 14, including 5,700 in the previous 24 hours. Officials in the Biden administration, on the other hand, have stated that they don’t have a precise count of how many Americans and allied Afghans are still trapped in a hostile area.

The Taliban, who now control the area around the airport, is also responsible for its operation. Military experts say closing an airport is as simple as firing mortars or shells onto the runway.

According to British officials, the current evacuations from Kabul’s airport may be on borrowed time and are urging the United States to extend its Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Officials also say that unless the deadline is extended, UK soldiers will be unable to rescue all of the thousands of Afghans qualified for safe passage to the UK.

“We don’t have it in our gift to stay there until absolutely everyone is out,” James Heappey, a junior minister for the armed forces, said. “The air bridge [could last] two more days, five more days, ten more days. It keeps absolutely everyone here at the Ministry of Defense awake at night, that reality that we won’t get everyone out.”

“There are people who are in deep fear and quite rightly feel that they can’t risk it,” he added. “There are others who are much further afield in Afghanistan and will have a real challenge” to reach the airport.

The Times of London reported late Friday that the British government had been urged to prepare for the final UK evacuation flight to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport on Tuesday. That’s a week before the deadline of Aug. 31, to give any remaining British troops time to leave the country, as New York Post reported.

“People are going to get left behind,” a senior government source told the paper. “It’s a question of how many. It could be thousands. I don’t think people have realized the extent of the risk.”

The Times also reported that British paratroopers on the ground in Kabul fear U.S. forces may evacuate with “zero warning,” leaving them with no choice but to follow suit, leaving thousands of people to near-certain death.

Sunil Shaheen, a spokesman for the Islamic fundamentalist group, said last week that the Taliban would allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan until the 9/11 anniversary date set in President Biden’s initial evacuation announcement.

Some UK officials, on the other hand, do not appear to believe the group’s claims. “Eventually, the Taliban will want their airport back,” one source told the Telegraph.

In remarks from the White House Friday, Biden said, “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or what it will be—that it will be without risk of loss,” he continued “but as commander-in-chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary.”

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.