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U.S. forces can not help Individuals flee to Kabul airport, Pentagon chief says

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin speaks throughout a media briefing on the Pentagon, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Washington.

Alex Brandon | AP

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Wednesday acknowledged that it doesn’t at the moment have the aptitude to soundly escort Individuals in Kabul to the airport for evacuation because the Taliban consolidate management in Afghanistan’s capital.

“I haven’t got the aptitude to exit and lengthen operations at the moment into Kabul,” Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned when requested about those that can not attain the gates of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul as a result of they’re behind Taliban checkpoints.

“And the place do you are taking that? How far are you able to lengthen into Kabul and the way lengthy does it take to circulation these forces in to have the ability to try this,” Austin mentioned.

The Protection secretary’s admission comes after the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued a dire warning to U.S. residents there stating that it “can not guarantee protected passage” to the airport.

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

The U.S. is counting on an settlement with the Taliban to ensure the protected passage of Individuals. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman mentioned earlier Wednesday that “it seems that the Taliban’s dedication for protected passage for Individuals has been strong,” whereas noting she does not know “each case.”

Austin vowed that the U.S. is “going to evacuate everyone that we are able to bodily and presumably evacuate and we’ll conduct this course of for so long as we presumably can.” The Pentagon chief mentioned the U.S. is coordinating with the Taliban to create passageways for folks to get to the airfield.

U.S. Military Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, advised reporters the airport is at the moment safe with almost 5,000 U.S. troops on the bottom and the Taliban “are usually not interfering with our operations.” Nonetheless, the scenario “continues to be risky and may change rapidly,” Milley mentioned.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley pauses whereas talking throughout a media briefing on the Pentagon, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Washington.

Alex Brandon | AP

“There are threats we’re intently monitoring and if at any second we are able to establish a particular menace we’ll take fast navy motion with none hesitation in accordance with our guidelines of engagement. The Taliban and each different group in that nation is aware of it,” the overall mentioned.

“We’re the USA navy, and we’ll efficiently evacuate all Americans who wish to get out of Afghanistan. They’re our precedence No. 1,” Milley mentioned alongside Austin.

The final, when requested about extracting folks behind Taliban traces with troops, mentioned the navy has the “functionality to do different issues if obligatory,” however mentioned executing such an possibility is a “coverage choice.”

“As well as, we intend to evacuate those that have been supporting us for years, and we’re not going to depart them behind. And we’ll get as many out as doable,” Milley added.

In a letter, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) urged the U.S. to not overlook journalists and assist workers in Afghanistan and to make sure evacuation flights for them proceed.

Addressing Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Homeland Safety Alejandro Mayorkas, the 2 senators mentioned there are an estimated 200-plus journalists and assist workers, with their households, nonetheless in search of to evacuate Afghanistan.

The New York Instances tweeted late Wednesday night time that “our courageous colleagues in Afghanistan made it to security.” The publication mentioned 65 households — or 128 males, girls and youngsters — had been headed to freedom.

The State Division acknowledged that the Taliban are apparently blocking some Afghans from reaching the airport.

“Now we have seen reviews that the Taliban, opposite to their public statements and their commitments to our authorities, are blocking Afghans who want to depart the nation from reaching the airport,” Sherman mentioned.

Milley mentioned the Pentagon is at the moment averaging about 20 sorties of cargo plane evacuation flights each 24 hours. Sherman mentioned 2,000 folks have been evacuated in that interval, and the State Division will quickly invite 800 Afghan particular immigrant visa holders to board flights to the U.S.

“I didn’t nor did anybody else see a collapse of any military that measurement in 11 days.”

U.S. Military Gen. Mark Milley

chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that U.S. Central Command chief Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie had been in common contact with Taliban leaders. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to offer additional particulars of these talks. There have but to be any high-level talks between the Pentagon and the Afghan navy because the nation’s collapse, Kirby added.

Regardless of being vastly outnumbered by the Afghan navy, which has been assisted by U.S. and NATO coalition forces for the final 20 years, the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.

Inside hours, Taliban insurgents seized the presidential palace in a shocking improvement that noticed the exodus of now-deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. On Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates confirmed that Ghani was dwelling in exile inside the kingdom.

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In separate information briefings, President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary-Common Jens Stoltenberg positioned the blame squarely on the Afghan nationwide authorities for the dramatic and swift Taliban takeover.

From the Pentagon, Milley supplied his perspective.

Milley mentioned that whereas some U.S. intelligence assessments had discovered that an outright Taliban takeover was doable, the timeframe different from “weeks, months and even years” after the U.S. withdrawal.

“I didn’t nor did anybody else see a collapse of any military that measurement in 11 days,” Milley mentioned.


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