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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Thousands of evacuated Afghans arrive at US airport

Total of 109,200 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, says White House spokeswoman

Thousands of more Afghans evacuated from Afghanistan’s capital Kabul arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, near Washington D.C., on Saturday.

White House Principal Deputy spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter that around 4,200 people were evacuated from Kabul in the last 12 hours.

Afghans brought to the largest airport in the region are being transferred to military bases for further procedures following health and safety checks.

Read more: No more evacuation of Afghans say Taliban

Anadolu Agency journalists, capturing the scenes of new arrivals, noticed that they had armbands with “Hello” sign written on it.

Meanwhile, Afghans evacuated from Kabul were kept on board the planes or on the runway at Dulles Airport for nearly 20 hours without food or water, drawing criticism.

Spokespersons for the Department of Defense and the White House said that this was due to the intensity of the Border and Customs Control Unit teams and that they were trying to fix the problems.

The Taliban, which took over the Afghan capital on Aug. 15, have set a deadline of next Tuesday, Aug. 31 for foreign forces to leave the country.

Since the start of the evacuation process from Afghanistan on Aug. 14, the US administration has evacuated nearly 109,200 people from the country, Jean-Pierre said.

Evacuating troops as Aug 31st deadline looms

The U.S. military has said it would shift its focus to evacuating its troops in the final two days before the deadline.

President Joe Biden has ordered all troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the month to comply with a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, despite European allies saying they needed more time to get people out.

Read more: Taliban’s Akhudzada still out of screen

In the 11 days since the Taliban swept into Kabul, the United States and its allies have mounted one of the biggest air evacuations in history, bringing out more than 88,000 people, including 19,000 on Tuesday. The U.S. military says planes are taking off the equivalent of every 39 minutes.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at least 4,500 American citizens and their families had been evacuated from Afghanistan since mid-August.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk