Some 1,500 Americans Are Still in Afghanistan, U.S. Says

WASHINGTON — About 1,500 American residents stay in Afghanistan, and a few third of them are in contact with the U.S. authorities and hope to go away in the approaching days, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken mentioned on Wednesday.

Some of the remaining 1,00Zero might not need to go away, Mr. Blinken mentioned, describing an ever-changing estimate that the Biden administration has tried to pin down as American troops wind down an evacuation effort that has overwhelmed the airport in Kabul, the capital.

That quantity doesn’t embody authorized everlasting American residents or inexperienced card holders, he mentioned.

Mr. Blinken mentioned greater than four,500 U.S. residents have to date been flown out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14, because the Taliban bore down on Kabul. He mentioned the State Department has despatched greater than 20,00Zero emails and made 45,00Zero telephone calls to determine and find Americans in Afghanistan forward of an Aug. 31 withdrawal of U.S. troops from the nation after 20 years of battle.

But Mr. Blinken sought to guarantee that any Americans or Afghans who’ve labored with the U.S. mission and need to go away after that date must be free to take action. “That effort will continue every day,” he mentioned.

U.S. and allied planes flew a further 19,200 individuals out of Kabul in the previous 24 hours, officers mentioned on Wednesday, because the Biden administration made substantial inroads into evacuating American residents and Afghans who labored for the United States during the last 20 years.

More than 10,00Zero individuals have been nonetheless contained in the worldwide airport in Kabul awaiting flights in a foreign country on Wednesday, and Afghans with correct credentials continued to be cleared into the airfield, Pentagon officers mentioned.

With President Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline for the withdrawal of American troops quickly approaching, tens of 1000’s of Afghans who qualify for particular immigration visas are additionally ready to be evacuated.

As of three a.m. in Washington, the United States had evacuated about 82,300 individuals from Kabul’s worldwide airport for the reason that authorities fell to Taliban forces.

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‘We Are Working as Fast as We Can’: U.S. Rushes Evacuations

A Pentagon spokesman mentioned U.S. and allied forces would work “all the way to the end” to evacuate Americans and susceptible Afghans from Kabul, however that the precedence would shift to flying out American troops and gear in the mission’s closing days.

Ninety flights complete yesterday that left the Kabul airport, that’s accounted for 19,00Zero evacuees now safely out of Afghanistan inside a 24-hour interval. Since the U.S. and coalition forces started the evacuation, so far, roughly 88,00Zero have safely departed from Afghanistan. We will proceed to evacuate wanted populations all the best way to the tip. If if, if we’ve to, and we have to, when you’re an evacuee, that we are able to get out, we’re going to proceed to get you out proper up till the tip. But in these final couple of days, we’re going to attempt to protect as a lot functionality as we are able to on the airport, as you may think. So in these final couple of days, we’ll start to prioritize army capabilities and army sources to maneuver out. That doesn’t imply that when you’re an evacuee and you could get out, that we’re not going to attempt to get you out, however that we should reserve some capability in these final couple of days to prioritize the army footprint leaving. We know there are quite a lot of determined individuals who need to go away, and that’s why we’re working as quick as we are able to. And you noticed the numbers that we proceed to have the ability to get out. We’re working as quick as we are able to to get out American residents, Special Immigrant Visa candidates and susceptible Afghans.

A Pentagon spokesman mentioned U.S. and allied forces would work “all the way to the end” to evacuate Americans and susceptible Afghans from Kabul, however that the precedence would shift to flying out American troops and gear in the mission’s closing days.CreditCredit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

John F. Kirby, the chief Pentagon spokesman, informed reporters that American officers in Kabul, together with the highest commander, Rear Adm. Peter G. Vaseley, have been speaking day by day with Taliban counterparts to make sure protected passage of Americans and Afghan allies with correct credentials.

Experts predict that a whole bunch of 1000’s of Afghans will probably be focused by the Taliban in the event that they keep, together with Afghan safety forces, authorities officers, ladies’s rights advocates and different defenders of democracy. Those Afghans are desperately hoping to hitch the U.S. army’s airlift earlier than it begins to wind down, doubtlessly as quickly as this weekend.

For the third time in every week, American army helicopters rescued Americans inside Kabul. On Tuesday, about 20 American residents who have been flown onto the airfield from a location inside town, Maj. Gen. William Taylor informed reporters. The same flight rescued 169 Americans from a Kabul lodge assembly place final week.

Though Mr. Biden has vowed to stay to the Aug. 31 exit plan, because the Taliban have demanded, he additionally has instructed Mr. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin to attract up plans to push again the date if obligatory.

Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that got here after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, together with floggings, amputations and mass executions, to implement their guidelines. Here’s extra on their origin story and their report as rulers.

Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the highest leaders of the Taliban, males who’ve spent years on the run, in hiding, in jail and dodging American drones. Little is understood about them or how they plan to control, together with whether or not they are going to be as tolerant as they declare to be.

How did the Taliban acquire management? See how the Taliban retook energy in Afghanistan in a number of months, and examine how their technique enabled them to take action.

What occurs to the ladies of Afghanistan? The final time the Taliban have been in energy, they barred ladies and women from taking most jobs or going to highschool. Afghan ladies have made many beneficial properties for the reason that Taliban have been toppled, however now they worry that floor could also be misplaced. Taliban officers try to reassure ladies that issues will probably be totally different, however there are indicators that, at the very least in some areas, they’ve begun to reimpose the previous order.

What does their victory imply for terrorist teams? The United States invaded Afghanistan 20 years in the past in response to terrorism, and plenty of fear that Al Qaeda and different radical teams will once more discover protected haven there.

The Taliban have warned of potential reprisals ought to the United States renege on its promise to withdraw its forces by the deadline, and Mr. Biden on Tuesday famous the hazard to American troops ought to they continue to be for much longer.

Beyond the Taliban, extremists affiliated with the Islamic State are additionally believed to pose a menace to the evacuation effort that has drawn crowds of individuals to Kabul’s airport gates, clamoring to be allowed on one of many flights which might be departing each 45 minutes.

“I’m determined to ensure that we complete our mission,” Mr. Biden mentioned on the White House on Tuesday. “I’m also mindful of the increasing risks that I’ve been briefed on and the need to factor those risks in. There are real and significant challenges that we also have to take into consideration.”

But the dwindling hours are weighing closely on the minds of individuals in search of to flee Afghanistan and members of Congress who need the United States to retain a presence there till Americans and high-risk Afghans can get out.

The Pentagon spokesman, Mr. Kirby, mentioned that the army would put excessive precedence on flying out American troops and gear in the mission’s closing days. “There will be a transition more toward getting military assets out as we get closer to the end, but again, we’re going to continue to work the evacuation mission right up until the last day,” he mentioned.