Officers charged with evacuating US troops, diplomats, civilians and native allies from Afghanistan insisted that the method was going effectively, regardless of the harrowing photographs of crowded planes and determined Afghans extensively circulating.
The US navy was “actively monitoring the scenario” on the bottom, Main Basic Hank Taylor – operations director on the Joint Workers – informed reporters on the Pentagon on Monday afternoon. After the Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport (HKAI) was closed for inbound and outbound flights earlier within the day, it had reopened for operations as of three:30 pm in Washington (midnight in Kabul), Taylor added.
The C-17 cargo planes with US Marines and 82nd Airborne parts have been arriving, bringing the whole variety of US troops there to round 3,500.
MG Taylor: By the top of the day, we count on practically 3,000-3,500 complete Troops on the bottom. As of 1535 native time, the air subject was open for operations. Shortly after, the primary C-17 landed with US Marines on board. The following C17 is getting ready to land as we communicate. pic.twitter.com/Osy5VyLNRa
— Division of Protection 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) August 16, 2021
Their mission, Taylor stated, was to evacuate US residents, diplomats beforehand evacuated from the embassy in Kabul, the Particular Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients and Afghans thought of in danger. He didn’t say if any of the outbound flights had taken off, nevertheless.
“Our focus proper now’s to keep up safety at HKIA,” Taylor stated, including that the US troops are ready to reply if attacked.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan was imagined to be accomplished by August 31, however the Taliban is now in charge of nearly your complete nation, together with the world instantly surrounding the Kabul airport. There have been conflicting studies on Monday that Taliban fighters have been contained in the airport itself, however the Pentagon officers appeared both oblivious or unconcerned.
If the Taliban achieve taking management of the airport (it seems to be like they’re), that is now not a humiliating embarrassment and humanitarian disaster.
It's a navy defeat/catastrophe.
— John Robb (@johnrobb) August 16, 2021
Garry Reid, previously the Pentagon director of protection intelligence and now accountable for the Afghanistan Disaster Motion Group – a activity pressure arrange in July to arrange the transport of diplomats, Afghan workers and refugees – spoke with reporters as if every little thing was going nice.
“Our US navy has performed an excellent job supporting this effort,” he stated, referring to the SIV evacuation to Virginia, and new websites in Texas and Wisconsin. Greater than 700 Afghans had been evacuated over the previous 48 hours, Reid and Taylor stated, making for a complete of two,000 because the effort started. The US has ready capability for 22,000, which will be expanded if wanted.
JUST IN: "The Crew made the choice to go" — Inside RCH 871, which saved 640 from the Taliban … from @TaraCopp and me https://t.co/r4YvGqJZ4b pic.twitter.com/CI1mAmqjHT
— Marcus Weisgerber (@MarcusReports) August 16, 2021
A photograph that began making rounds on Sunday night confirmed a whole bunch of Afghans – some ladies and kids, however largely males – crammed into the cargo maintain of a C-17 outbound from Kabul. Although the preliminary chatter from the crew recommended as many as 800 on board, the ultimate quantity was truly 640, Protection One reported on Monday.
The crew of the Globemaster cargo airplane, name signal Attain 871, “made the choice to go” after a whole bunch of Afghans climbed up the half-open ramp, as an alternative of attempting to pressure them off.
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Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby denied the scenario in Kabul was a failure and argued that whereas the US navy had plans for evacuations way back to Could and a tabletop train two weeks in the past, planning is “not an ideal course of.” Whereas the Pentagon deliberate for the opportunity of Taliban making “important beneficial properties,” it “didn’t anticipate” the US-backed Afghan navy capitulating and not using a battle, Kirby added.
Movies of Afghan males mobbing the planes taking off – clinging onto the touchdown gear and a few falling off to their deaths – made the rounds on social networks on Monday morning. HKAI was shut down sooner or later earlier within the day, “out of abundance of warning,” till US troops may restore order, Kirby had stated earlier.
US President Joe Biden briefly returned to Washington from his trip in Camp David, however didn’t tackle the calamitous withdrawal in his remarks to the press. As a substitute, he defended the choice to withdraw and blamed the Afghan authorities for missing the desire to withstand the Taliban.
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