Armed Air Force F-18 plane waiting in the chaos of Kabul Airport


The U.S. military has put an armed F-18 jet on standby in the turmoil of evacuation at Kabul Airport, a U.S. military general said Thursday.

Major Hank Taylor said in a comment to reporters that US Air Force jets are on standby in the event of a need for air support and to ensure the safety of operations with the US military.

Thousands of US troops were deployed at the airport as many Americans, Afghanistan, and others attempted to evacuate the country after the Taliban hijacked Kabul last weekend. The deployment of the F-18 is in an increasingly tense and chaotic situation, as Taliban militant groups show after video footage and reports that they are blocking people from arriving at the airport. The latest development.

“The ability to provide close air support is what you need right away if you need it in a ground situation,” Taylor said.

When asked if the plane would carry out airstrikes, neither he nor Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who stood nearby, provided an answer.

“We will give us the resources we have at our disposal to carry out our mission safely … it’s wise and responsible behavior,” Kirby said.

So far, about 7,000 people have been taken out of Afghanistan, officials said, and about 12 C-17 freighters have taken away about 2,000 overnight. Kirby and other officials said the evacuation deadline was August 31, but President Joe Biden told ABC News in an interview that the US mission in Kabul would continue beyond that deadline. ..

Authorities have previously said they would take 5,000 to 9,000 people out of the country each day. Kirby and Taylor said it wasn’t clear how many Americans remained in Afghanistan, but Biden confirmed in an interview that there were 10,000 to 15,000 remaining.

“The footprint of the US military in Kabul is that there are 5,200 troops on the ground. Kabul Airport remains safe and open,” Taylor said. “There are multiple gates that are currently open and have entrances, which helps speed up the process.”

The Taliban said its members would allow the government to fly all Westerners and some Afghans abroad, but there were reports that they blocked journalists. ABC News reporters who were about to go to the airport were blocked by two armed Taliban members, who seemed to suspect their qualifications and pushed them into the car. Broadcast with camera According to “Good Morning America” ​​on Thursday.

Wednesday and Thursday videos also showed a clear Taliban Members fire shots In a crowd of people, whipping them with various things, and yelling at them to return near the airport.

Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman confirmed reports that Taliban militants were blocking the movement of Afghans to the airport. Human rights groups fear that Afghans who worked with the U.S. military during the 20-year conflict could be at risk of retaliation, torture, or execution by the Taliban.

Jack phillips

Jack phillips

Senior reporter

Jack Phillips is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.