Blinken says up to 1,500 Americans may still need evacuation from Afghanistan

Washington — Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Wednesday the U.S. has airlifted 4,500 U.S. residents and their households out of Afghanistan within the final 10 days, and there could also be as much as 1,500 People who nonetheless need to depart the nation as a part of the massive evacuation effort by the Biden administration within the wake of the Taliban’s takeover.

Talking from the State Division, Blinken painted the clearest image but from the Biden administration in regards to the variety of People in Afghanistan and awaiting evacuation from the nation. 

Starting August 14, there have been as as many 6,000 U.S. residents in Afghanistan who needed to depart, Blinken mentioned, and 4,500 People and their households have been shuttled overseas within the final 10 days.

The State Division has been in direct contact with 500 further People in Afghanistan over the past 24 hours and supplied them with particular directions on the best way to get to the airport in Kabul safely, Blinken mentioned.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about Afghanistan throughout a media briefing on the State Division on August 25, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

ALEX BRANDON/POOL/AFP through Getty Photographs

For the remaining roughly 1,000 individuals who could also be People who need to depart, Blinken mentioned the U.S. is “aggressively” reaching out to them by means of numerous channels, together with telephone, electronic mail and textual content messages, to find out in the event that they nonetheless need to get overseas.

“Some could now not be within the nation, some could have claimed to be People however end up to not be, some could select to remain,” he mentioned, including the administration believes far fewer than the remaining 1,000 are actively looking for help to depart Afghanistan.

Blinken detailed intensive efforts taken by the Biden administration to succeed in U.S. residents in Afghanistan since mid-August, saying they’ve despatched 20,000 emails and made 45,000 telephone calls to these enrolled with the State Division.

“Let me be crystal clear about this: There isn’t any deadline on our work to assist any remaining Americans who resolve they need to depart to take action, together with the various Afghans who’ve stood by us over these a few years and need to depart and have been unable to take action,” he mentioned. “That effort will proceed day-after-day previous August 31.”

The U.S. has evacuated roughly 82,300 folks on U.S. navy and coalition flights from Kabul since August 14, the White Home mentioned earlier Wednesday, because the Biden administration warns of rising danger to American and allied forces on the bottom in Afghanistan with every day that passes.

The administration has ramped up the tempo of evacuations of U.S. residents and at-risk Afghans from Kabul in latest days, with roughly 19,000 folks airlifted from the principle airport within the capital over a 24-hour interval starting early Tuesday morning.

Forty-two U.S. navy flights — C-17s and C-130s — carried about 11,200 evacuees, and 48 coalition flights introduced 7,800 out of Afghanistan, the White Home mentioned. A aircraft left the airport in Kabul each 39 minutes Tuesday, and there are greater than 10,000 folks on the airport ready for flights to depart Afghanistan, Military Main Common Hank Taylor, deputy director of the joint workers for regional operations, mentioned throughout a press briefing on the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Because the finish of July, 87,900 folks have been relocated from Afghanistan on U.S. navy and coalition flights, the White Home mentioned. 

“We’ll proceed to work the evacuation mission proper up till the final day,” Pentagon press secretary Kirby instructed reporters.

Refugees board a U.S. plane heading to Germany after being evacuated from Kabul, on the Torrejón de Ardoz air base close to Madrid on August 24, 2021.

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP through Getty Photographs

Taylor mentioned the U.S. carried out an operation Tuesday night time to rescue fewer than 20 folks by helicopter and produce them to the airport. Whereas Kirby wouldn’t say whether or not they had been People, he mentioned the passengers had been picked up in Kabul.

The helicopter operation marks the third to get folks to the airport that has been acknowledged by the Pentagon. Since August 14, there have been no U.S. troops killed and one minor harm, Kirby mentioned.

The mission in Afghanistan is ready to finish on August 31, and President Biden mentioned Tuesday the U.S. is “on pace” to satisfy his deadline for withdrawing all remaining U.S. forces from the nation, which can convey an finish to the two-decade conflict there.

In remarks from the White Home, the president warned that American and allied troops, in addition to civilians, face added danger with every day of operations, however famous that completion of airlifts out of Kabul by August 31 will depend on cooperation from the Taliban and entry to the airport.

“The longer we keep, beginning with the acute and rising danger of an assault by a terrorist group often called ISIS-Okay, an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan — which is the sworn enemy of the Taliban as properly — day-after-day we’re on the bottom is one other day we all know that ISIS-Okay is looking for to focus on the airport and assault each U.S. and allied forces and harmless civilians,” Mr. Biden mentioned.

Within the occasion evacuations should not completed within the subsequent six days, the president mentioned he has requested the Pentagon and State Division for “contingency plans to regulate the timetable.”

The Taliban has mentioned the U.S. should full its withdrawal by August 31 and won’t permit extensions to the deadline. | Blinken says as much as 1,500 People should still want evacuation from Afghanistan


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