Things are going from bad to worse.
Up to 15,000 United States residents remain in Afghanistan following the Taliban ‘s insurgency and takeover of Kabul, two Senate aides said, citing officials from President Joe Biden’s administration.
The two Senate aides confirmed they were given the statistic during a briefing led by national security and defense officials. A previous report said the figure could be between 10,000 and 15,000.
The Taliban informed U.S. officials they were prepared to provide safe transportation of civilians to the airport, said national security adviser Jake Sullivan while speaking at the White House on Tuesday. He added, “We intend to hold them to that commitment.”
“We are getting people through the gate, we are getting them lined up, and we are getting them on planes, but this is an hour-by-hour issue,” Sullivan said.
Nearly 1,100 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and their families have been evacuated on 13 flights as of Tuesday night, officials confirmed.
“Now that we have established the flow, we expect those numbers to escalate,” a White House official said in a statement , adding that in addition to the more than 3,200 U.S. residents who have been evacuated, the U.S. has relocated roughly 2,000 Afghan immigrants.
The U.S. announced on Monday that it was prepared to take on more than 20,000 Afghans who are eligible for the Special Immigrant Visa Program to military bases.
Chaos in Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, ensued over the weekend and into Tuesday after the Taliban took over on Sunday. Deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the Taliban’s takeover of the nation’s government.
Multiple Afghan people were killed Monday amid the unstable situation at the airport as hundreds clamored to board planes that were already overcapacity, some falling off of planes as they hung on to the side during takeoff. A stampede broke out at the airport on Wednesday, causing at least 17 injuries as civilian desperation to flee ramps up, Reuters reported.
Biden admitted on Monday that the fall of the government came “more quickly than we anticipated” but stood by his decision to end “America’s war-fighting in Afghanistan.”
Author: Nolan Sheridan