The United States is working to handle its evacuation by aircraft by August 31.
Aug 24, 2021 at 6:17 am TASR
WASHINGTON. About 16,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan via Kabul Airport in the last 24 hours, the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) said on Monday. The United States is working to handle its evacuation by aircraft by the deadline, August 31.
The AFP news agency informed about it.
The most successful day
General Hank Taylor told reporters that 61 military, commercial and charter flights had flown from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in the last 24 hours (until 09.00 CET on Monday), with the help of many countries. They took people fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban militant movement came to power.
Of the total number evacuated that day, US military planes carried 11,000 people, Taylor added. Monday was the most successful evacuation day so far, writes the AP agency.
General Taylor further reported that the number of people displaced from Afghanistan by US aircraft since July reached 42,000, 37,000 of whom had been evacuated since August 14, when intensive evacuation air operations began after the Taliban’s conquest of Kabul.
Among those evacuees are “several thousand” U.S. citizens, as well as thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. military and applied for or had already received special immigration visas. Among them, Afghans are also considered endangered – the Taliban may attack them for their work in NGOs, the media and other jobs, Defense Department chief spokesman John Kirby explained.
The spokesman also said that the faster pace of evacuation is being achieved in part through coordination with Taliban commanders in transporting people to the airport.
“For now, there is a need for constant coordination and a policy of non-conflict with the Taliban,” Kirby explained. “We see that this non-conflict works well in the sense that it allows access to the airport as well as reducing the size of the crowds in front of the airport,” he added.
People also have to pick up outside the airport
However, this approach is still difficult: the US military has already had to go outside the airport to pick up the Americans by helicopter. U.S. officials said a military helicopter picked up 16 U.S. citizens on Monday and brought them to the airport for evacuation.
This was at least the second such rescue mission outside the airport; Kirby said three Thursday, three Army helicopters had been picked up by 169 Americans near a hotel next to the airport gate and transported to the airport.
Adviser to the President Joe Biden Jake Sullivan told the White House that talks with the Taliban are continuing, with the administration looking for other ways to safely transport more Americans and people to Kabul Airport.
“We negotiate with the Taliban every day, through both political and security channels,” Sullivan said. He added that in the end Biden himself would have to decide whether evacuation operations under the leadership of the army would continue after August 31.
A memento of the great security threats lurking for evacuations is a video released by the Pentagon. He captures a laser aiming at a C-17 aircraft of the US Air Force near the airport and is apparently trying to upset the pilot during landing.