Airlift from Afghanistan Continues Amid Widespread Threats and Criticism: Mother Jones
Amid threats, delays, chaotic scenes and a cascade of criticism, the US military is evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of Kabul on August 15.
About 18,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul since July, President Joe Biden said Friday, as he described as “one of the largest and most difficult airlifts in history.” CNN reported On Saturday there are still about 14,000 outside the airport, crowded outside the airports, concrete barriers with barbed wire. Many are Afghan civilians who may not be able to obtain visas to allow them to escape.
An uncertain number of US citizens, estimated being as high as 15,000, they are in the country, many far from the airport with no safe way to get there. The US military is rounding up some Americans and “possibly other civilians” outside the airport, the Associated Press reported Saturday. Three US CH-47 Chinook helicopters, for example, transported by air 169 Americans met at a Kabul hotel at the airport on Thursday. The AP quoted a senior US official as saying that US forces are devising new ways to get evacuees to the airport amid “possible Islamic threats against Americans.”
Biden and his administration have faced widespread attacks over the rapid fall of Kabul and the apparent lack of preparation on the part of US forces to evacuate US and Afghan nationals who assisted US forces. But despite some reported deaths and cases of Taliban retaliation efforts, the evacuation, so far, is being carried out without the amount of violence that many feared. That’s partly due to the US. coordinating with the Taliban, who claim (is to allow their safe exit.
The complexity of the evacuation effort was highlighted by an hours delay to Air Force flights on Friday as a result of overcrowding at a base of operations in Qatar. The State Department said on Friday that Bahrain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan have agreed to temporarily host Americans, and in some cases other nationals, fleeing Afghanistan. .
The US military has said it aims to evacuate 5,000 to 9,000 people a day, but so far it has not met that goal. The army hopes to withdraw the thousands of soldiers from the Kabul airport before August 31.