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U.S. races to evacuate hundreds from Afghanistan with 6 days left till withdrawal deadline

Members of the UK Armed Forces proceed to participate within the evacuation of entitled personnel from Kabul airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 19-22, 2021, on this handout image obtained by Reuters on August 23, 2021.

U.Okay. M.O.D. | through Reuters

WASHINGTON – The U.S. army alongside coalition companions ramped up emergency evacuation flights Wednesday, as overseas forces head into the ultimate days of an immense humanitarian airlift.

Prior to now 24 hours, Western forces evacuated 19,000 folks out of Kabul on 90 army cargo plane flights, a cadence of 1 departure flight each 39 minutes, in accordance with the Pentagon.

For the reason that mass evacuations started Aug. 14, roughly 82,300 folks have been airlifted out of Afghanistan. About 87,900 folks have been evacuated because the finish of July, together with about 4,400 U.S. residents and their households.

The Pentagon mentioned Wednesday that 10,000 individuals are presently at Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul awaiting a flight. There are nonetheless a number of thousand People believed to be awaiting evacuation, in accordance with the State Division.

The Biden administration has not supplied the whole variety of People and Afghan nationals that it’s aiming to evacuate earlier than the Aug. 31 deadline set by President Joe Biden.

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

NATO allies and members of the president’s personal celebration have pushed for an extension of the withdrawal deadline, expressing doubt that the coalition can evacuate all of the Afghans who’re eligible to go away in such a short while body.

Nonetheless, Biden on Tuesday reiterated to leaders of the G-7, NATO, United Nations and European Union that america will withdraw its army from Afghanistan by the tip of the month.

“We’re presently on tempo to complete by August the 31st,” Biden mentioned from the West Wing of the White Home, in his third handle on Afghanistan because the nation fell to the Taliban.

“As well as, I’ve requested the Pentagon and the State Division for contingency plans to regulate the timetable ought to that turn out to be mandatory,” Biden mentioned.

On the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby mentioned the U.S. army was nonetheless working to finish the evacuation mission by the tip of the month and wouldn’t elaborate on potential alternate plans.

When requested about experiences of two lawmakers flying to Kabul to look at evacuation efforts, Kirby mentioned the U.S. army was “not conscious of this go to.”

“We’re clearly not encouraging VIP visits to a really tense, harmful and dynamic scenario at that airport and inside Kabul,” Kirby mentioned, including that Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin “would have appreciated the chance to have had a dialog earlier than the go to occurred.”

On Tuesday, Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Peter Meijer, R-Mich., mentioned in an announcement they went to Kabul as a way to collect first-hand accounts to tell their position as lawmakers. Moulton and Meijer are Iraq Struggle veterans.

“They obtained an opportunity to speak to commanders, as I perceive, they obtained an opportunity to speak to troops, however there wasn’t a must flex and to change the day-to-day movement,” Kirby mentioned. “They definitely took time away from what we had been planning to try this day,” he added.

Following the journey, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned members in a letter that such journeys might hamper the evacuation of U.S. residents and at-risk Afghans.

“Member journey to Afghanistan and the encompassing nations would unnecessarily divert wanted sources from the precedence mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating People and Afghans in danger from Afghanistan,” Pelosi instructed reporters Tuesday.

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