Taliban Allowing ‘Safe Passage’ From Kabul in US Airlift | Political News

By ROBERT BURNS, ELLEN KNICKMEYER and ZEKE MILLER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Taliban have agreed to permit “safe passage” from Afghanistan for civilians struggling to hitch a U.S.-directed airlift from the capital, President Joe Biden’s nationwide safety adviser stated Tuesday, though a timetable for finishing the evacuation of Americans, Afghan allies and others has but to be labored out with the nation’s new rulers.

Jake Sullivan acknowledged reviews that some civilians have been encountering resistance — “being turned away or pushed back or even beaten” — as they tried to succeed in the Kabul worldwide airport. But he stated “very large numbers” have been reaching the airport and the issue of the others was being taken up with the Taliban, whose stunningly swift takeover of the nation on Sunday plunged the U.S. evacuation effort into chaos, confusion and violence.

Pentagon officers stated that after interruptions on Monday, the airlift was again on monitor and being accelerated regardless of climate issues, amid common communication with Taliban leaders. Additional U.S. troops arrived and extra have been on the best way, with a complete of greater than 6,000 anticipated to be concerned in securing the airport in coming days.

The White House stated 13 flights Tuesday airlifted 1,100 U.S. residents, everlasting residents and their households from the Kabul airport, including that the tempo was anticipated to choose up Wednesday and thru the week.

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The State Department stated it was sending John Bass, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, to handle the evacuation operation in Kabul, and the Pentagon stated it can ship Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donohue, a particular operations officer and present commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, to take command of airport safety operations.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby disclosed that U.S. officers have been talking with Taliban commanders “multiple times a day” about avoiding battle on the airport. This advised that the brand new rulers of Afghanistan, who swept to energy after 20 years of warfare in opposition to the U.S.-supported Kabul authorities, plan to not disrupt the evacuation. Kirby wouldn’t focus on particulars of the Taliban association, and Sullivan stated the query of how a lot time the Taliban will give the evacuation was nonetheless being negotiated.

Biden has stated he needs the evacuation accomplished by Aug. 31. Sullivan declined to say whether or not that deadline would maintain.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command and general commander of U.S. troops in Kabul, made an unannounced go to to the Afghan capital Tuesday. In a written assertion, he stated he discovered that army air site visitors controllers and floor handlers have been “rapidly scaling up” airlift operations.

McKenzie on Sunday negotiated the secure passage settlement with Taliban leaders in talks held in Doha, Qatar.

“I cautioned them against interference in our evacuation, and made it clear to them that any attack would be met with overwhelming force in the defense of our forces,” McKenzie stated. “The protection of U.S. civilians and our partners is my highest priority and we will take all necessary action to ensure a safe and efficient withdrawal.”

At the White House, Sullivan stated U.S. officers have been engaged in an “hour by hour” strategy of holding the Taliban to their dedication to permit secure passage for civilians wishing to go away the nation. Asked whether or not the Biden administration acknowledges the Taliban because the official rulers of Afghanistan, Sullivan stated it was too quickly to say and that the Taliban’s file of adhering to worldwide human rights requirements “has not been good.”

Overnight on the airport, 9 Air Force C-17 transport planes arrived with tools and about 1,000 troops, and 7 C-17s took off with 700-800 civilian evacuees, together with 165 Americans, Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor instructed a Pentagon information convention. The complete included Afghans who’ve utilized for Special Immigrant Visas and third-country nationals, he stated.

The objective is to ramp as much as one evacuation flight per hour by Wednesday, with 5,000 to 9,000 evacuees leaving per day, Taylor and Kirby stated. Taylor stated that greater than 4,000 U.S. troops are actually on the airport. That quantity is predicted to prime 6,000 in coming days — greater than twice as many as in all of Afghanistan when Biden introduced in April he can be ending the U.S. warfare and pulling out all troops.

On Monday the airlift had been briefly suspended when Afghans determined to flee the nation breeched safety and rushed onto the tarmac. Seven individuals died in a number of incidents. The Air Force stated Tuesday that its Office of Special Investigations is investigating an incident Monday in which a C-17 transport aircraft taking off from Kabul airport was swarmed by determined Afghan civilians, a few of whom died. The Air Force stated human stays have been discovered in the aircraft’s wheel properly when it landed in Qatar.

Kirby stated U.S. commanders on the airport are in direct communication with Taliban commanders outdoors to keep away from safety incidents.

He stated there have been no hostile actions by the Taliban, and that a number of hundred members of the now-defeated Afghan military have been on the airport aiding in the evacuation.

Kirby stated throughout tv interviews that plans have been being made to accommodate as much as 22,000 evacuated Afghans and their households at three U.S. Army installations in the continental United States. Those places are Camp McCoy, Wisconsin; Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Lee, Virginia.

Biden returned to the White House Tuesday evening from the Camp David presidential retreat. On Monday, he had rejected blame for chaotic scenes of Afghans clinging to U.S. army planes in Kabul in a determined bid to flee their house nation after the Taliban’s straightforward victory over an Afghan army that America and NATO allies had spent 20 years making an attempt to construct.

Biden known as the anguish of trapped Afghan civilians “gut-wrenching” and conceded the Taliban had achieved a a lot sooner takeover of the nation than his administration had anticipated. The U.S. rushed in troops to guard its personal evacuating diplomats and others on the Kabul airport.

But the president expressed no second ideas about his resolution to stay by the U.S. dedication, formulated in the course of the Trump administration, to finish America’s longest warfare, it doesn’t matter what.

“I stand squarely behind my decision” to lastly withdraw U.S. fight forces, Biden stated.

Associated Press writers Darlene Superville, Matthew Lee, Eric Tucker and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington and Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin contributed to this report.

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