The Pentagon said Tuesday that as many as 10,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan.
“I’m sure there are thousands of Americans. I don’t know the exact number. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on CNN’s” New Day. “
State Department officials advised those Americans to go to Hamid Karzai International Airport to evacuate, he added.
The United States has contacted the Taliban to ensure safe travel to American airports, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters in Washington.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that Americans should evacuate to Afghanistan instead of going to the airport due to the chaotic situation in Afghanistan.
According to Kirby, that is no longer the case.
“Now that security is improved, they don’t necessarily have to evacuate to the right place and can start moving to the airport to handle the departure of the plane,” he said.
A Taliban terrorist group hijacked Afghanistan on Sunday and entered Kabul’s presidential palace, urging the president of the country to flee to another country.
The United States has abandoned many facilities in recent weeks, including the Joint Base Bagram. When the Taliban hijacked part of the city on Sunday, military planes were seen by evacuees from the US Embassy in Kabul.
Since then, the military’s focus has been on keeping the airport safe for transporting a mixture of Americans and Afghans to the United States.
“We are focusing on our current mission. It is to promote the safe evacuation of endangered US citizens, SIVs, and Afghanistan. Bring these personnel out of Afghanistan as soon as possible and safely. It’s about getting rid of it, “Hank Taylor told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
SIV stands for Special Immigrant Visa. According to the Pentagon, the Pentagon has space on visas that can accommodate up to 22,000 Afghans, and may create more space later.
“If we have to go any further, we do, because we are talking about not only the special immigrant visa applicants themselves, but their families as well.” Kirby said. “The bottom line is our obligations to these people who have helped us over the last two decades, and here at the Pentagon we take that obligation seriously.”
Pentagon officials say the Taliban are not attacking the airport. Armed groups that shot US troops on Monday have nothing to do with terrorist groups. The two were deadly shot by the US military. No additional incidents have occurred.
Evacuation flights resumed on Tuesday after the airport runway was vacated. Afghans are desperately trying to board the plane, which can prevent the plane from departing.
Between August 14th and 17th, about 1,400 to 1,500 people were evacuated. Evacuation is on the rise, with military officials evacuating up to 9,000 people a day and hoping that about one aircraft will depart every hour.
By the end of Tuesday, more than 4,000 US troops are expected to be on the ground in Kabul, an increase of about 1,500 from the previous day. They are supported by 500 to 600 Afghan military personnel at the airport.
The goal is to complete the evacuation by August 31st. US officials do not say whether they will be stationed in Kabul after that date, if necessary. A Taliban spokesperson told Sky News that all US troops had to leave the country by September 11.
“Keep your troops out of Afghanistan. They have already violated the time frame set out in the Doha Agreement,” he said.
“We promise not to attack them, we are not attacking them,” he added.