The United States has airlifted out of Afghanistan some 7,000 people fleeing the Taliban takeover of the country, a top general said Thursday.
Since the United States seized the Kabul airport and started evacuations on August 14, “we have airlifted approximately 7,000 total evacuees,” Major General Hank Taylor told a Pentagon briefing.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
He said a total of nearly 12,000 people have been moved out of Afghanistan since the end of July when the United States began speeding up departures as the Taliban swept through Afghanistan ahead of a US military withdrawal.
“This increase is reflective of both a ramp-up of aircraft and airlift capability, faster processing of evacuees and greater information and fidelity in reporting,” Taylor said.
He said that the 5,200 US troops sent to the airport had secured multiple gates, helping improve access as vast throngs of people look to escape the Taliban takeover.
Over the past 24 hours, the United States flew into Kabul 13 C-17 transport planes and flew out 12 of them, bringing out more than 2,000 people, he said.
President Joe Biden's administration has vowed to airlift all US citizens out of Afghanistan and as many Afghans as possible amid fears of Taliban retribution against those who assisted the 20-year war.
The administration says that the Taliban has cooperated on giving safe passage for US citizens but has impeded some Afghans seeking to head to Hamid Karzai International Airport.