Kabul airport reopened early Tuesday in Afghanistan after it was closed for hours by US troops following a security failure on the tarmac that interrupted evacuation operations, a US general said.
The airport reopened Monday at 1935 GMT, said Major General Hank Taylor, a logistics specialist with the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He said a C-17 transport plane had landed with US Marines on board, and a second loaded with an army unit was due to land soon to help ensure airport security.
Taylor said the United States was “in charge of air traffic control” at Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) for military and commercial flights.
He added that about 2,500 US troops were already in Kabul to help organize the evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans who worked for them as translators and in other jobs.
By the end of Monday, US time, he said there could be 3,000 to 3,500 on the ground.
“Our focus at the moment is to maintain the security of HKIA, to continue to accelerate flight operations while protecting Americans and Afghan civilians,” he said.
The airport was closed Monday after crowds of civilians walked onto the runways, the Pentagon said.
Videos shot from the airport show hundreds of Afghans rushing onto the runways and obstructing the take-off of one of the US transports.
Meanwhile, two armed Afghan men were killed by US forces as thousands tried to board flights.
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