(AP) — U.S. officials are struggling to speed the pace of evacuations of Americans and Afghans at the Kabul airport. In a hopeful sign, the State Department says it expects a major increase in the number to be airlifted soon. But obstacles remain, including Taliban checkpoints and paperwork problems. With an Aug. 31 deadline looming, tens of thousands remain to be airlifted to safety. As of Thursday, about 7,000 people had been evacuated in the U.S. airlift, including about 2,000 on each of the past two days. The State Department says it expects another 6,000 to be flown out soon. President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the evacuation Friday afternoon at the White House.