Biden planning to present an replace on scenario in Afghanistan | Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) – The US military is considering “creative ways” to evacuate Americans and others from Afghanistan to Kabul airport under “acute” security threats, Biden government officials said, and the Pentagon ordered six on Sunday U.S. commercial airlines, helping move evacuees from temporary locations outside of Afghanistan.

A week after the Taliban took over the country, US officials expressed growing concern about the threat of evacuation from the Islamic State. This concern is in addition to the obstacles to this Taliban’s mission and the bureaucratic problems facing the US government.

President Joe Biden planned to release a public update on Afghanistan on Sunday. He also met with his national security team. Afghanistan will be the main topic of discussion when the leaders of the Seven Developed Nations Group, including Biden, will meet virtually on Tuesday.

“The threat is real, it is acute, it is persistent and that is what we are focusing on with every tool in our arsenal,” said Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Sullivan said on CNN’s State of the Union that 3,900 people have been flown out of Kabul on US military flights in the past 24 hours. A U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide unpublished details, said these people had flown on a total of 23 flights – 14 from C-17 vans and nine on board C-130 cargo planes.

This represents an increase of 1,600 aircraft flown on board U.S. military aircraft in the last 24 hours, but remains well below the 5,000 to 9,000 that the military says has the capacity for daily air transport. Sullivan also said about 3,900 people have been flown on non-US military flights in the past 24 hours.

The Biden administration has not given an accurate estimate of the number of Americans who want to leave Afghanistan. Some have put the total between 10,000 and 15,000. Sullivan called it “several thousand” on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Antony Blinken admitted the desperate situation at Kabul Airport.

“We saw these horrific scenes of people huddled in front of the gates. People hurt, people killed. It’s an incredibly volatile situation and that’s what we’re very focused on, ”he said on CBS’s Face the Nation.

The British military announced on Sunday that seven more people had been killed in the incessant crush in front of the airport. The US military took control of the airport for evacuation a week ago when the capital fell to the Taliban. But Taliban troops controlling the streets around the airport and the crowds gathering outside in hopes of escaping have made it difficult and dangerous for foreigners and their Afghan allies to get through.

Republicans in Congress increased their criticism of Biden’s reaction, demanding the use of US troops to help Americans get safely to the airport so they can exit.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told ABC This Week that given the August 31 deadline for completing the evacuation operation, Biden would recommend giving her more time. Tens of thousands of Americans and others have yet to be flown out of the country.

Austin’s interview was broadcast on Sunday but taped on Saturday as other US officials said heightened concerns about security threats at the airport from ISIS-related militants. The US embassy warned citizens on Saturday not to travel to the airport without individual instructions from a US government official. Officials declined to provide details on the ISIS threat, but described it as significant.

In a statement on Sunday, the State Department asked people who want to leave Afghanistan as part of an organized private evacuation not to come to Kabul airport “until they have received specific instructions from the flight organizer at the US embassy”. The notice states that others, including American citizens, who have received specific instructions from the embassy to go to the airport should do so.

Austin said the airlift would continue as long as possible.

“We’re going to do our best to get everyone, every American citizen out,” Austin said in an interview. “And we have – we continue to look for different ways – in creative ways – to reach out and contact American citizens and help them get to the airfield.” He later said this included non-Americans who qualify for evacuation, including Afghans who applied for special immigrant visas.

Austin found that the U.S. military helicopted 169 Americans to the airport from a nearby hotel in the capital on Thursday. This is the only announced example of U.S. forces going beyond the airport to retrieve evacuees who are often blocked by chaos, violence and crowds at the airport gates.

Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said the US should send more military convoys to help the Americans.

“If the Taliban say Americans can get to the airport safely, then there is no better way to ensure they get to the airport safely than using our military to escort them,” said Ernst, an army veteran , on ABC.

Criticism of Biden’s strategy also came from the diplomatic sphere.

Ryan Crocker, who was US ambassador to Afghanistan under Presidents George W., Bush and Barack Obama, said Biden’s management of the withdrawal was “catastrophic” and sparked a “global crisis.”

Crocker focused his criticism on Biden’s execution of the withdrawal, saying this “does not speak for competence”.

A central problem with evacuation is the handling of evacuees as soon as they reach other countries in the region and in Europe. These temporary stations, among others in Qatar, Bahrain and Germany, sometimes reach their capacities.

To alleviate this and to clear military aircraft for missions from Kabul, the Pentagon activated the civil reserve air fleet on Sunday. The Department of Defense said 18 American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines planes are being ordered to move evacuees from stopovers. The airlines will not fly to Afghanistan.

The civil airline reserve system was last activated in 2003 for the Iraq war. The airliners will retain their civil status, but the military’s Air Mobility Command will control the flights.


Associated Press authors Lolita C. Baldor, Ellen Knickmeyer, Hope Yen, Matthew Lee, and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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