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U.S. evacuates 48,000 from Afghanistan as Taliban calls Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline ‘pink line’

WASHINGTON – The White Home stated Monday that the U.S. has evacuated or helped to get roughly 48,000 folks out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14, with about 10,900 of them airlifted out throughout 12 hours Monday.

The tally represents an obvious acceleration within the army’s colossal efforts to relocate as many individuals as doable amid a Taliban takeover. As well as, coalition forces evacuated roughly 5,900 folks over the weekend.

For the reason that finish of July, the U.S. has relocated roughly 53,000 folks, the White Home stated. There are nonetheless a number of thousand Individuals believed to be awaiting evacuation, based on the State Division.

The Pentagon stated evacuees are flying from Kabul to short-term safe-haven places throughout the Center East and Europe, together with U.S. installations in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Afghan nationals arriving in the US will likely be housed at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Lee in Virginia, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and Fort Bliss in Texas.

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

Military Gen. Steve Lyons, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, advised reporters Monday that just about 200 plane had been devoted to the evacuation effort in some capability.

“So, after I say we’re all in. I imply it,” Lyons stated, including he was assured the U.S. army would be capable of enhance its present departure tempo.

The most recent replace on evacuation efforts comes as U.S. and NATO coalition forces rush to airlift 1000’s of individuals in a foreign country forward of a self-imposed deadline to depart Afghanistan in eight days.

U.S. Airmen and U.S. Marines information certified evacuees aboard a U.S. Air Pressure C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport (HKIA), Afghanistan, August 21, 2021.

US Air Pressure | Reuters

President Joe Biden has beforehand stated he could think about extending the departure date previous Aug. 31 however has but to take action.

A Taliban spokesman advised Sky Information that the group won’t settle for such an extension.

“It is a pink line. President Biden introduced that on 31 August they might withdraw all their army forces. So in the event that they prolong it meaning they’re extending occupation whereas there isn’t any want for that,” Suhail Shaheen stated, based on the report.

“If the U.S. or U.Ok. had been to hunt extra time to proceed evacuations, the reply is not any. Or there could be penalties,” he added.

When requested concerning the Taliban warning, nationwide safety advisor Jake Sullivan advised reporters that Biden was assessing the state of affairs “daily” and added that “the president will make his personal determinations” on a possible extension.

Nationwide Safety Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks in the course of the every day press briefing on the White Home in Washington, DC, on August 23, 2021.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Pictures

The State Division reiterated the U.S. would maintain the Taliban accountable if the group didn’t honor its dedication to offer secure passage to evacuees touring to the airport.

“The Taliban has agreed to offer secure passage to Individuals, third-country nationals, and to Afghans who need to go away, spokesman Ned Worth advised reporters on the State Division. “Collectively we’ll maintain them accountable if they don’t,” he added.

Sullivan downplayed criticisms that the US had botched its withdrawal from Afghanistan given the rushed army evacuations and panicked scenes on the airport.

“What I see is the US securing an airfield on the danger of a number of thousand American troops to facilitate not simply the evacuation of Individuals, however to facilitate the evacuation of third-country nationals from buddies and foes alike, and to facilitate the evacuation of tens of 1000’s of people that for humanitarian causes, need to go away Afghanistan,” Sullivan stated.

“This is a gigantic logistical, diplomatic, safety humanitarian endeavor. There isn’t a different nation on this planet who might pull one thing like this off, bar none,” he added.

On the Pentagon, Protection Division spokesman John Kirby stated the “focus is on getting this performed by the tip of the month.”

U.S. Division of Protection Press Secretary John Kirby (R) and Military Main Common William Taylor (L), Joint Employees deputy director for regional operations, take part in a information briefing on the Pentagon on August 23, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.

Alex Wong | Getty Pictures

“We’re properly conscious of the said want by the Taliban to have this mission accomplished by the 31st of August, I’ll inform you that we’re nonetheless planning on finishing it by the 31st of August. That’s the mission that has been signed by the commander in chief and assigned to us and that is what we’re attempting to execute,” Kirby added.

Earlier on Monday, the U.S. army confirmed a short firefight broke out at one gate into Kabul’s Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport.

Navy Capt. William City, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command — the combatant command that oversees American army operations within the area — stated the incident “appeared to start when an unknown hostile actor fired upon Afghan safety forces.”

He added no American or NATO coalition forces had been injured.

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