More than 82,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan, US secretary of state says

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  9 comments

By:   Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes (CNN)

More than 82,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan, US secretary of state says
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared some figures today about the ongoing efforts to get Americans and other allies out of Afghanistan.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes, Fernando Alfonso III and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 3:54 p.m. ET, August 25, 2021 27 Posts Sort byLatestOldestDropdown arrow 1 hr 3 min ago

More than 82,000 people have been flown out of Afghanistan, US secretary of state says


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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shared some figures today about the ongoing efforts to get Americans and other allies out of Afghanistan.

"Since August 14, more than 82,300 people have been safely flown out of Kabul. In the 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday, approximately 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 US military and coalition flights," Blinken said today during a news briefing.

Blinken added: "Only the United States could organize and execute a mission of this scale and this complexity."

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NOW: Secretary of state speaks about US evacuations in Afghanistan


Secretary of State Antony Blinken is speaking now about US efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan after his remarks originally scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET were delayed.

President Biden said Tuesday evening that he had asked Blinken to give the public "an update and a detailed report on exactly how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, how many we got out and what our projection is."

White House officials have repeatedly said they do not know exactly how many Americans are in Afghanistan.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the US doesn't know the exact figure because some Americans entered the country without registering with the US Embassy in Kabul and others left the country without deregistering.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, during the Pentagon briefing on Wednesday morning, said at least 4,400 Americans had been evacuated but did not provide a total number of Americans who are still in need of evacuation.

Earlier today, the Pentagon announced that a total of 19,000 evacuees left Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, with 42 US military aircraft carrying 11,200 people and another 7,800 people evacuated by coalition partners.

The Pentagon said there are more than 10,000 people waiting at the airport to leave but that the number would change as more people arrive at the airport and as flights depart.

CNN's Jason Hoffman, Nicole Gaouette and Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

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Kabul airport evacuations "overwhelmed the US government for almost 2 weeks running," source says


From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh

The evacuation efforts at Kabul airport are "an undertaking of historically massive proportions," a source familiar with the current situation at Kabul airport tells CNN.

"This is an undertaking of historically massive proportions. Even as US citizens and permanent residents continue to evacuate, the sheer number of Afghan nationals desperate to leave has overwhelmed the US government for almost two weeks running," the source said.

"The conditions at the Kabul airport are no better for the military than for the refugees," the source continued. "Soldiers and Marines are working for days on end in 100-plus degree heat and terrible sanitary conditions with one meal per day. Staff have limited connectivity to exercise command and control, and are overwhelmed with special interest requests from Congress, the White House, and private organizations."

There is a common misconception that state or defense personnel are able to easily "open the gate" to meet an individual or group, the source tells CNN. "As if the most heavily fortified airport in the world is nothing more than a backyard," the source added.

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Tension continues outside of Kabul airport as many try to escape Afghanistan


From CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Jennifer Z. Deaton, Jaide Timm-Garcia, and Hande Atay Alam

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As tension continues to grow in Afghanistan, so too does the chaos outside of Kabul's international airport as time is running out for many to escape from the Taliban.

One video shared on social media shows a man who was purportedly beaten by the Taliban while he was trying to get to the airport. In the footage, the man can be seen with blood running down his face while talking to the camera saying partly in English, "They hit me bad" and that "this happened to me when I was crossing .... Airport." In the same footage, gunshots can be heard purportedly fired by the Taliban to intimidate people.

Another social media video showed big crowds of people waiting outside the north wall at Kabul Airport, hoping to get into the airport and holding up their documents to the US military soldiers and Nato troops who were guarding the wall.

On Tuesday during a press conference, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said, "The road, which goes to the Airport, is blocked. Afghans cannot take that road to go to the airport, but foreign nationals are allowed to take that road to the airport."

Some context: The Pentagon announced Wednesday that a total of 19,000 evacuees left Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, with 42 US Military aircraft carrying 11,200 and another 7,800 evacuated by coalition partners.

There are currently more than 10,000 people waiting at the airport to leave, but that the number could change as more people arrive at the airport and as flights depart, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations Army Maj. Gen. William "Hank" Taylor said in a briefing with reporters.

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Evacuation of Turkish armed forces from Afghanistan begins


From CNN's Isil Sariyuce

The Turkish Armed Forces has begun to evacuate from Kabul airport and return to Turkey after "successfully fulfilling the task entrusted to them," the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement regarding Turkish soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

The ministry announced the decision came as a result of the assessment following "various meetings, current situation and conditions."

"Chaos at Kabul's Hamid Karzai Airport was managed, security provided, other necessary activities carried out together with troops of other countries. In this process, 1129 civilian citizens were evacuated with our military aircraft," statement said.

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin tweeted that "after fulfilling their duties in an excellent and honored way, Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan are returning home. Turkey will continue to work for the peace, security and prosperity of our Afghan brothers and sisters."

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State Department: About 500 Americans contacted in past 24 hours and given instructions to depart


From CNN's Jake Tapper

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are about 1,500 people who may be Americans left in the country and added that when evacuation operations began, there was a population of as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave.

Blinken said the US has "evacuated at least 4,500 American citizens and likely more" since Aug. 14, and more than 500 were evacuated in the last day alone.

"Over the past 24 hours we've been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely," he said.

Blinken noted that some may have left the country, some may not actually be Americans and some may choose to stay. Blinken said Americans are not required to register with the State Department, making precise counts difficult.

The State Department believes "the number of Americans actively seeking to leave Afghanistan is lower, likely significantly lower," but noted that they are "dynamic" calculations, Blinken added.

In a briefing to congressional staff earlier today, a Senate aide told CNN the State Department said that at least 4,100 American citizens are still actively seeking to get out of Afghanistan. The source said not all the Americans are located in and around Kabul.

President Biden said Tuesday he had asked Blinken to give the public "an update and a detailed report on exactly how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, how many we got out and what our projection is."

Earlier today, the Pentagon announced that a total of 19,000 evacuees left Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, with 42 US military aircraft carrying 11,200 people and another 7,800 people evacuated by coalition partners.

The Pentagon said there are more than 10,000 people waiting at the airport to leave but that the number would change as more people arrive at the airport and as flights depart.

Update: This post has been updated to reflect the estimated number of American citizens who may be in Afghanistan as stated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

CNN's Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

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German envoy says Taliban agree to let Afghans travel after Aug. 31


From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

The Taliban have agreed to let Afghan nationals with legal documents travel after Aug. 31, German Ambassador to Afghanistan Markus Potzel tweeted Wednesday.

Potzel met with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Deputy Head of the Taliban's political bureau, and his team "for a comprehensive discussion" in Doha on Tuesday, Potzel said.

They discussed an "urgent need" for a functioning airport in Kabul as a prerequisite for diplomatic and NGO presence in Afghanistan.

"Director Stanekzai assured me that Afghans with legal documents will continue to have the opportunity to travel on commercial flights after 31 August," Potzel said.

Some background: This comes one day after the Taliban said they were "not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore" and warned that the US must stick to next week's deadline to pull out.

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told a press conference Tuesday that while foreign nationals could continue traveling to the airport, the huge crowds of Afghans that have gathered there in recent days should return home and would not face reprisals from the country's new rulers.

"The road, which goes to the airport, is blocked. Afghans cannot take that road to go to the airport, but foreign nationals are allowed to take that road to the airport," Mujahid said.

"We are not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore and we are not happy with it either," he added.

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Afghan evacuees continue to arrive in New Jersey


From CNN's Kiely Westhoff

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Afghan evacuees are continuing to arrive at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, according to base media relations officials.

Chief of Media Relations Derek VanHorn said in a statement that arrivals began overnight on Tuesday and are expected to continue through the coming days.

VanHorn said the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is one of four military installations to temporarily house Afghan evacuees including bases in Wisconsin, Texas and Virginia.

The military installations are providing evacuees with temporary lodging, basic needs, transportation and medical screening services in a secure environment. The Department of Defense is working to build capacity at the existing military installations and potentially other locations, according to VanHorn.

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All Polish citizens who asked to leave Afghanistan have returned to Poland


From CNN's Robert Iddiols and Sharon Braithwaite

All Polish citizens who requested help to leave Afghanistan have arrived in Poland, the Polish ministry of foreign affairs said Wednesday.

"As part of the evacuation operation from Afghanistan, 12 planes have so far departed, with more than 850 people on board," the ministry announced via Twitter.

Poland joined the international efforts to relocate personnel from partner nations and vulnerable Afghans. "The evacuation of Afghans and people of other nationalities is currently underway," the ministry added.

The ministry also posted three photos to Twitter depicting the various stages of transit for those making the journey, accompanied with the hashtag #SolidarityPL.

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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago

"Since August 14, more than 82,300 people have been safely flown out of Kabul. In the 24-hour period from Tuesday to Wednesday, approximately 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 US military and coalition flights," Blinken said today during a news briefing.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
2  Ronin2    3 weeks ago

OK, great. Hopefully there are not too many terrorist sleepers in those 82,000.

How many US citizens are there left to get out?

How many Afghans that aided us; and we made promises to are left to get out?

Just grabbing anyone that wants to leave and manage to somehow get into the airport is no great accomplishment. Biden needs to get every last US citizen out and keep our promises to those that aided us. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
PhD Expert
2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Ronin2 @2    3 weeks ago

Should have quietly and surreptitiously begun removing civilians, embassy staff, unessential contractors, and  pre-vetted Afghani's weeks, or even months ago.

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
2.1.1  shona1  replied to  Greg Jones @2.1    3 weeks ago

Morning Greg.. that is exactly what we have been doing for months..many of the translators that helped our Diggers are already here.

It started back in March and they and their families were quietly flown out. New Zealand was also doing the same. But we have not got them all out yet and may not be able to now.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Masters Quiet
3  Ronin2    3 weeks ago
From CNN's Jake Tapper

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are about 1,500 people who may be Americans left in the country and added that when evacuation operations began, there was a population of as many as 6,000 American citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave.

Blinken said the US has "evacuated at least 4,500 American citizens and likely more" since Aug. 14, and more than 500 were evacuated in the last day alone.

"Over the past 24 hours we've been in direct contact with approximately 500 additional Americans and provided specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely," he said.

Blinken noted that some may have left the country, some may not actually be Americans and some may choose to stay. Blinken said Americans are not required to register with the State Department, making precise counts difficult.

The State Department believes "the number of Americans actively seeking to leave Afghanistan is lower, likely significantly lower," but noted that they are "dynamic" calculations, Blinken added.

In a briefing to congressional staff earlier today, a Senate aide told CNN the State Department said that at least 4,100 American citizens are still actively seeking to get out of Afghanistan. The source said not all the Americans are located in and around Kabul.

President Biden said Tuesday he had asked Blinken to give the public "an update and a detailed report on exactly how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, how many we got out and what our projection is."

I think the Biden administration is grossly under reporting. Blinken is a fucking imbecile; who takes after his boss, and shouldn't be allowed to have anything to do with presenting "facts" to anyone. The bolded part of the statement directly contradicts Blinken's.  Considering that the Taliban are destroying cell phone towers trying to cut off all communication within the country; it can easily be assumed many more want to leave, but can't get in contact with embassy. The "They are on their own attitude" of this administration is beyond sickening. 

 
 
 
Jasper2529
Masters Participates
4  Jasper2529    3 weeks ago
How many US citizens are there left to get out? How many Afghans that aided us; and we made promises to are left to get out?

Good questions, and they've never been answered. The Biden Administration and its agencies have only given numbers for Kabul. None of them are interested in discussing US citizens and Afghanis who helped us who are stranded all over the country and don't have a way to get to the Kabul airport.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
PhD Quiet
4.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Jasper2529 @4    3 weeks ago

"Good questions, and they've never been answered."

And I don't expect that they ever will be. At least not truthfully anyway. What Blinken said today was strictly a feeble attempt at damage control by the State Department.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
4.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Jasper2529 @4    3 weeks ago
How many US citizens are there left to get out? How many Afghans that aided us; and we made promises to are left to get out?
Good questions, and they've never been answered.

Actually it has been answered, unfortunately the answer is that they don't know for sure.  Since the US does not REQUIRE travelers to check in with them, they can only deal with the numbers they have.  There is currently a number set up where family or friends of people, that are in Afghanistan, can call and notify the government about these people.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Senior Expert
4.3  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Jasper2529 @4    3 weeks ago

256

 
 
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