A new group of American soldiers tasked with securing the evacuation of thousands of American and Afghan civilians arrived in Kabul on Saturday, as the Taliban appeared at the gates of the Afghan capital, according to the Pentagon.
• Read also: Afghanistan: Taliban at the gates of Kabul, Americans prepare for evacuation
After the first contingent of Marines arrived on Friday, US soldiers “continue” to land in Kabul to evacuate diplomats, as well as Afghans who worked with the US for fear of Taliban reprisals, a US Army Central Command spokesman said. Commander Bill Urban said.
He did not specify how many or whether the evacuation of diplomats from the US embassy in Kabul had begun.
The United States intends to evacuate “thousands of people a day” and for that before the end of the weekend the Pentagon will deploy 3,000 troops at the capital’s airport, its spokesman, John Kirby, put it Friday.
Approximately 4,200 people were still working this week at the US Embassy in Kabul. Thousands of Afghans who worked as translators or in other support roles for the two-decade US mission are also keen to leave the country as soon as possible for fear of Taliban reprisals.
In total, the Pentagon estimates the number of people who will be evacuated by August 31, at about 30,000, the date set by President Joe Biden for the complete withdrawal of US forces.
With the Taliban controlling nearly all of northern, western and southern Afghanistan in just over a week and besieging Kabul, the US president has given up spending a few days at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.
Biden on Friday evening visited the presidential residence at Camp David, which is better equipped with secure communications, where he is scheduled to stay until Wednesday. He would be able to receive his advisors there more discreetly should the situation deteriorate.
A White House official told reporters that he participated in a video conference Saturday morning with his key national security advisers “to discuss efforts to reduce our civilian presence in Afghanistan, evacuate Afghan immigration candidates, and assess the situation on the ground.” On condition of anonymity.
Afghans wishing to immigrate to the United States will initially be sent to Qatar, where there are already US military doctors and military police, but the immigration process takes several months and the US has yet to announce. Which countries were willing to welcome them while waiting for their immigrant visa to be issued.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken raised the issue Thursday in a phone interview with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed Al Thani, according to a report on the conversation published by the State Department.
The US State Department said Mr. Blinken “thanked the Secretary for the key role Qatar has played in supporting efforts to achieve a just and lasting negotiated settlement in Afghanistan, as well as US efforts to ensure the safety of Afghan citizens.” Foreign Affairs.
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