Military Ramps Up Evacuations From Kabul, but Bottlenecks Persist

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The Pentagon has accrued the fig of flights, but questions stay astir whether the subject tin prolong the gait arsenic the deadline to extremity the cognition draws near.

Afghan refugees arriving successful  Virginia connected  Tuesday. The Pentagon has opened subject   bases determination   arsenic  good   arsenic  successful  Texas, Wisconsin and New Jersey to supply  impermanent  lodging  to those fleeing the Taliban.
Credit...Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Helene CooperEric Schmitt

Aug. 24, 2021, 7:42 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — With the Aug. 31 deadline for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan rapidly approaching, the Pentagon has sharply ramped up the velocity of evacuations from the Kabul airport, flying retired 21,600 radical successful 24 hours, Defense Department officials said Tuesday. But bottlenecks successful the system, and President Biden’s insistence that each troops permission the state by the extremity of the month, whitethorn forestall the subject from keeping that pace.

The contention against clip means that the 5,800 Marines and soldiers astatine Hamid Karzai International Airport indispensable effort to evacuate thousands much Americans and Afghan allies, and past get themselves out, someway erasing the detritus of 20 years of warfare successful Afghanistan successful the adjacent 7 days.

That process began connected Tuesday, arsenic John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said that respective 100 headquarters, attraction and different enactment troops who were not indispensable to the escalating evacuation cognition had near the country.

Defense officials person been loath to accidental publicly, though, what seems progressively clear: Some radical volition beryllium near behind.

Since Aug. 14, erstwhile Kabul fell to the Taliban, much than 70,700 radical person been evacuated from Afghanistan arsenic of Tuesday evening, Mr. Biden said.

That is good beneath the fig of American citizens, overseas nationals and Afghan allies who are trying to get out. “We’re trying to get arsenic galore retired arsenic we can,” said John F. Kirby, the main Pentagon spokesman. He said the American troops astatine the Kabul airdrome privation to “continue this gait arsenic aggressively arsenic we can.”

But for each of Mr. Biden’s insistence connected sticking to his withdrawal deadline, neither the Department of Homeland Security nor the State Department has been capable to ratchet up the vetting and processing times to the levels needed to conscionable demand.

A U.S. authoritative said it was taking arsenic agelong arsenic 12 hours for migration officers astatine Al Udeid Air Base extracurricular Doha, Qatar, to cheque arriving Afghans against the National Counterterrorism Center’s ticker list. The authoritative said that vetting and screening processes needed to determination faster to forestall the evacuee pipeline from clogging up again astatine Al Udeid, the largest basal receiving Afghans, arsenic it did for respective hours past week.

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Credit...Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The Taliban person warned of “consequences” if the U.S. subject stays beyond the deadline. And connected Tuesday, a Taliban spokesperson said the group’s fighters would physically artifact Afghans from going to the airport.

The Pentagon has opened subject bases successful Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and New Jersey to supply impermanent lodging for Afghan refugees, and volition astir apt adhd much successful the coming days, officials said.

Mr. Kirby said Afghan allies of the United States, who fearfulness reprisals from the Taliban, are inactive being processed astatine the Kabul airport, though the gates of the airdrome person been shuttered respective times implicit the past week due to the fact that of the surge of people.

The United States volition proceed to evacuate Afghans until the past mates of days of its drawdown of troops and equipment, erstwhile flights are expected to beryllium filled mostly with subject troops and equipment, arsenic good arsenic immoderate Americans desiring to leave. Dozens of Afghan commandos — trained by the United States — are besides astatine the airdrome and indispensable beryllium evacuated.

Understand the Taliban Takeover successful Afghanistan


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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose successful 1994 amid the turmoil that came aft the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan successful 1989. They utilized brutal nationalist punishments, including floggings, amputations and wide executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s much connected their root communicative and their grounds arsenic rulers.

For the military, portion of the occupation is the sheer standard of moving truthful galore radical truthful quickly, with truthful small precocious notice. For instance, the C-17 subject planes, which are transporting 400 radical per load, person 1 oregon 2 bathrooms connected them, and the formation from Kabul to Qatar is 4 hours.

Once the flights get astatine Al Udeid successful Qatar and different intermediate bases successful the Middle East and Europe, evacuees are vetted by Homeland Security and State Department officials, who find if they suffice to participate the United States.

The subject is treating the Taliban’s reddish enactment connected Aug. 31 earnestly successful portion because, contempt pugnacious speech from Taliban spokesmen, immoderate of the group’s commanders person been cooperating with the U.S. subject and allowing galore radical to get to the airport. In addition, the American subject and the Taliban person cooperated against the menace of attacks from the Islamic State.

But aft Aug. 31, each bets are off, a elder U.S. authoritative said.

With truthful galore radical astatine the Kabul airport, successful Doha and astatine different bases, concerns are rising astir sanitation, nutrient and water. The C-17 planes taking refugees retired of Afghanistan are turning astir and bringing successful other dumpsters, portable hand-washing stations, refrigerated trucks to support h2o cool, and nutrient and water.

Over the past 4 days, Defense Department officials said, 3 babies were calved to evacuees. One pistillate went into labour connected Saturday during a formation landing astatine Ramstein Air Base successful Germany, Air Force officials said. The craft commandant descended to a little altitude to summation aerial unit successful the jet, a determination that officials said saved the mother’s beingness due to the fact that she had debased humor pressure. When the level landed, medics rushed aboard and delivered the babe — a miss — successful the cargo bay. All 3 babies are successful bully condition, Mr. Kirby said Tuesday.

After receiving a classified briefing Monday night, Representative Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Kabul was unrealistic.

“I deliberation it’s possible, but I deliberation it’s precise unlikely,” Mr. Schiff told reporters. Using the abbreviation for peculiar migrant visas, helium added, “Given the fig of Americans who inactive request to beryllium evacuated, the fig of S.I.V.s, the fig of others who are members of the Afghan press, civilian nine leaders, women leaders — it’s hard for maine to ideate each of that tin beryllium accomplished betwixt present and the extremity of the month.”

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