About 16,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan through the Kabul airport in the past 24 hours, the Pentagon said Monday, as the US rushes to complete its airlift by Aug. 31.
General Hank Taylor told reporters that 61 military, commercial and charter flights involving a number of countries departed from Hamid Karzai International Airport in the 24 hours to 3:00 AM Monday (0700 GMT) with people fleeing the country after the Taliban took power. grips.
Of the total evacuated that day, 11,000 were knocked out by U.S. military airlift operations, Taylor said.
Taylor said the number of people moved from Afghanistan on US flights since July was 42,000, with 37,000 since the intense airlift operations began on August 14 when the Taliban took Kabul.
That includes “several thousand” U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghans who worked for U.S. troops, who had applied for or received special immigrant visas, and Afghans who were seen as at risk from Taliban attacks because of their work in non-governmental organizations, the media, and other jobs, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby said the focus remains on conducting U.S. evacuation operations by the August 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden for the U.S. withdrawal from the country.
That will require the withdrawal of the 5,800 US troops who have essentially conducted airport operations and maintained security since August 14, as well as large amounts of equipment brought in to support their mission.
German, British and French officials said Monday that their evacuations could continue after August 31, and said they want US forces to remain on the ground to assist the international airlift.
On Tuesday, leaders of the G7 group of rich countries will meet virtually on Afghanistan.
“Whether the US can be persuaded to stay is a matter for the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) at tomorrow’s G7 meeting,” British Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey told Sky News.
Britain currently chairs the G7, which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
Kirby did not categorically rule out Washington extending the deadline, although the Taliban have said they will hold the US to it.
For the United States, Kirby said, “The goal is to get as many people out of there as quickly as possible.”
“The focus is on trying to do this as best we can, by the end of the month,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NewsMadura staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)