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US accelerating effort to get out of Afghanistan amid capital city violence

Aug 23, 2021

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As the United States sped up efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan Monday, violence in the country’s capital city left an Afghan soldier dead.

Monday’s shooting came as the Taliban moved to shore up their position and eliminate pockets of armed resistance after the group’s takeover of the country. They retook three districts north of the capital seized by opponents over the weekend. The Taliban have also surrounded the last province that remains out of their control.

Monday’s deadly shooting comes a day after at least seven Afghans died a day earlier in a panicked stampede of thousands of people near the airport in Kabul. It also came the same day the U.S. set a new high for people evacuated out of the Capital. The video above shows Army Maj. Gen. William ‘Hank’ Taylor discussing the evacuation effort.

“As of this morning, within the last 24 hours, 25 U.S. military C-17s, three U.S. military C-130s and then a combination of 61 chartered commercial and other military flights departed Kabul,” Maj. Gen. Taylor said. “The total passenger count for those flights was approximately 16,000 of that number. The U.S. military transported just under 11,000 personnel.”

Taylor also confirmed that five flights arrived at Dulles International Airport with approximately 1300 passengers.

The chief Pentagon spokesman said the faster pace of evacuation was due in part to coordination with Taliban commanders.

“Thus far, and going forward, it does require constant coordination and deconfliction with the Taliban,” John Kirby said. “What we’ve seen is, this deconfliction has worked well in terms of allowing access and flow as well as reducing the overall size of the crowds just outside the airport.”

President Joe Biden has not ruled out extending the evacuation beyond Aug. 31, the date he had set for completing the pullout of U.S. forces. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to press Biden for an extension.

Despite speeding up evacuations, President Biden’s popularity has taken a hit in the wake of the Taliban takeover. According to a CBS News Poll, 74 percent of respondents said the removal of troops from Afghanistan has gone badly. The approval rating for Biden’s handling of the withdrawal has fallen from 60 percent in July to 47 percent, and his overall approval rating has dropped from 58 percent in July to 50 percent.

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Army Maj. Gen. William ‘Hank’ Taylor, Joint Staff Deputy Director for Regional operations: “As of this morning, within the last 24 hours, 25 U.S. military C-17s, three U.S. military C-130s and then a combination of 61 chartered commercial and other military flights departed Kabul. The total passenger count for those flights was approximately 16,000, of that number. The U.S. military transported just under 11,000 personnel.”

“The use of temporary safe haven locations across Europe and the Middle East to, in areas that include U.S. installations in Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Italy, Spain and Germany. We deeply appreciate the support from these countries. This is truly a testament to the importance of our alliances and our partnerships.”

“In the past 24 hours, five flights landed at Dulles International Airport with approximately 1300 passengers. At this time four military installations as well as Dulles International are receiving Afghans as they come into the United States. These installations include Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Fort Lee, Virginia, Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey and Fort Bliss, Texas. The total number currently at these installations is approximately 1200 and NorthCom continues to build out capacity to ensure they are prepared to receive more flights that will come in the next few days.”

“Over the weekend, the airport in Kabul remains secure, however many you’ve seen already, CENTCOM released a statement regarding an incident to report as a no U.S. casualties, a partner force or coalition forces were involved. But regrettably, an Afghan security force member lost his life.”

“As the president referenced last night in his remarks, we are in communication with the Taliban for the establishment and sustainment of several checkpoints to increase throughput and facilitate safe passage for individuals working to gain access to the airport. Today, the number of troops at the airport continues to stand at 5,800. Commanders on the ground continue to actively monitor threats. They are empowered to make the appropriate force protection decisions. As always, U.S. forces retain the inherent right to use force and self-defense.”

“We’re using all of our available tools to maintain the highest threat awareness both in Afghanistan and throughout the globe. While this mission is not without risk, the safety of our personnel, American citizens and Afghan evacuees at risk is of paramount importance.”

“We continue to make progress in the completion of this mission. Since the end of July, we have relocated approximately 42,000 people. Since the beginning of evacuation operations on August 14th, we have evacuated approximately 37,000. All of this progress stems from the teamwork, professionalism and dedication of our military, our interagency colleagues and our allies and partners. We know more hard work remains in the coming days, and we’re absolutely prepared to meet that challenge.”


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