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Biden says flights out of Afghanistan resume, pledges to get all Individuals out

WASHINGTON —  President Joe Biden mentioned flights out of Afghanistan have resumed Friday afternoon after an hours-long pause, and he pledged to get all Individuals overseas who wished to go away.

Practically as essential as getting Individuals out is evacuating the U.S. navy translators and others who helped American troops, the president mentioned alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Talking on the White Home, Biden mentioned over 18,000 folks have been evacuated from the nation because the finish of July and 5,700 within the final 24 hours. On the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby mentioned that the overwhelming majority of evacuees have been Afghan nationals. Kirby added that the U.S. navy’s prime precedence is to airlift U.S. residents and their households first.

Biden’s remarks come as greater than 5,000 U.S. forces rush to airlift as many individuals as potential overseas forward of a self-imposed deadline to depart Afghanistan by Aug. 31.

“I feel we are able to get it performed by then, however we will make that judgment as we go,” Biden mentioned of the withdrawal timeline.

Evacuees crowd the inside of a U.S. Air Pressure C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, carrying some 640 Afghans to Qatar from Kabul, Afghanistan August 15, 2021.

Courtesy of Protection One | Handout through Reuters

The president additionally repeated his perception that there was by no means a time, previously or the long run, that American troops may have departed Afghanistan with out chaos.

“There is no approach we’d have been in a position to go away Afghanistan with out there being a few of what you are seeing now,” he mentioned.

For a lot of Individuals, “what you are seeing now” are scenes of determined households with kids fleeing to the gates of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul searching for a flight overseas. Critics have faulted the president for not displaying extra empathy for these folks.

Earlier this week, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin advised reporters that the Pentagon wasn’t in a position to safely escort Individuals to the airport for evacuation.

“I haven’t got the aptitude to exit and prolong operations at the moment into Kabul,” Austin mentioned when requested about those that can not attain the gates of the airport as a result of they’re behind Taliban checkpoints.

The USA is counting on an settlement with the Taliban to ensure the secure passage of Individuals. Whereas the State Division has mentioned the Taliban have stored their commitments on the secure passage of U.S. residents, some Afghan nationals are being stopped by the militants.

Biden mentioned he didn’t plan to broaden the American safety perimeter past the airport, as a result of it might draw “unintended penalties.”

“We’ve been in fixed contact with Taliban management on the bottom in Kabul, in addition to the Taliban management in Doha,” he mentioned. “And now we have been coordinating what we’re doing.”

When requested on the Pentagon if U.S. forces would broaden their mission outdoors of the airport perimeter, Kirby declined to take a position on future navy operations. He reiterated that Biden must approve such a mission.

On the State Division, spokesman Ned Value advised reporters that Americans in Afghanistan will quickly obtain personalised cellphone calls coordinating their departure overseas or relocation to the US, ought to they resolve to go away.

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

The Pentagon has mentioned that its aim is to airlift roughly 5,000 to 9,000 folks a time out of Kabul. U.S. Military Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, deputy director for regional operations, mentioned Thursday that the departure tempo relies on who has been cleared to go away the nation by the State Division.

Taylor mentioned he anticipated a departure tempo of 1 U.S. navy cargo plane per hour. However lower than a day later, Taylor’s expectation collided with the truth of hours of halted flights.

The Pentagon confirmed the flights had been delayed about seven hours throughout a briefing on Friday saying the non permanent pause was as a result of the plane didn’t have a vacation spot to fly to outdoors of Kabul. Taylor mentioned that at the least one flight has since left Kabul, with different plane lined as much as take off.

Kirby added that the U.S. navy is in search of further places to ship evacuation flights.

Value mentioned Friday that greater than a dozen international locations, together with Turkey, Bahrain, Germany and Italy have agreed to transit Individuals in addition to Afghan nationals “by their territories to security.”

“Albania, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Mexico, Poland, Qatar, Rwanda, Ukraine and Uganda have additionally made beneficiant provides concerning the relocation efforts for at-risk Afghans,” Value added.

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