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U.S. winds down Kabul mission after serving to evacuate 116,000 individuals in simply over 2 weeks

A U.S. Marine supplies help throughout an evacuation at Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport, Afghanistan, August 22, 2021.

US Marines | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The US is a day away from ending its evacuation mission in Kabul, marking the obvious finish of a 20-year Western try to create a secure democracy in Afghanistan.

As of early Monday, Western forces evacuated 1,200 individuals out of the Afghan capital on 26 army cargo plane flights in a 24-hour interval, in response to the newest figures from the White Home. For the reason that mass evacuations started on Aug. 14, roughly 116,700 individuals have been airlifted out of Afghanistan.

About 122,300 individuals have been evacuated because the finish of July, together with about 5,500 U.S. residents and their households.

On Monday, as many as 5 rockets have been intercepted by U.S. missile defenses close to Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport in Kabul, the location the place U.S. forces are sprinting to hold out closing evacuation flights because the Taliban gained management of the nation two weeks in the past.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned in an announcement that President Joe Biden was briefed on the rocket assault and reconfirmed that commanders ought to prioritize the safety of U.S. forces on the bottom.

The Pentagon mentioned Saturday that it had begun its retrograde course of — the withdrawal of U.S. service members. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby mentioned that lower than 5,000 service members stay in Afghanistan, including that the U.S. would not present an actual quantity as a result of safety situations.

On Monday, Kirby mentioned the U.S. is speaking with the Taliban concerning the evacuation mission.

“Our commanders on the bottom stay in communication with Taliban leaders across the airfield to deconflict and to stop miscalculations and misunderstandings, and to date that communication has been efficient,” Kirby mentioned throughout a Pentagon briefing.

When requested concerning the safety scenario, Kirby described the threats as dynamic however added that the U.S. will “preserve the aptitude to guard ourselves and defend ourselves as we proceed to finish the retrograde.”

A State Division spokesman mentioned Saturday that roughly 250 People are nonetheless in search of evacuation.

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

Over the weekend, the U.S. carried out two identified drone strikes in opposition to ISIS-Okay members believed to be concerned in planning assaults in opposition to U.S. forces in Kabul. The strikes adopted a suicide bombing assault that resulted within the deaths of 13 American service members.

The Pentagon mentioned Sunday that it was assessing the outcomes of the drone strikes, following reviews of civilian casualties.

“We’re conscious of reviews of civilian casualties following our strike on a automobile in Kabul as we speak,” U.S. Navy Capt. Invoice City, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, mentioned in an announcement.

“We might be deeply saddened by any potential lack of harmless life,” he added.

On Sunday, the president and first girl Jill Biden traveled to Dover Air Drive Base to fulfill privately with the households of the fallen U.S. service members earlier than observing the dignified switch of American flag-draped caskets from a C-17 army cargo airplane to a automobile.

US President Joe Biden attends the dignified switch of the stays of a fallen service member at Dover Air Drive Base in Dover, Delaware, August, 29, 2021.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Pictures

A dignified switch is a solemn course of during which the stays of fallen service members are carried from an plane to a ready automobile. It’s carried out for each U.S. service member killed in motion.

It marked Biden’s first time attending a dignified switch since turning into president.

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees Mark Milley additionally attended the dignified switch, together with U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, U.S. Military Chief of Employees Gen. James McConville, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday and U.S. Air Drive Col. Chip Hollinger, who oversaw the army logistics of the switch.

The Aug. 26 assault close to the gates of Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport, which killed 11 Marines, one Navy sailor and one Military soldier, is underneath investigation.

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