The massive evacuation efforts for thousands of Afghans who have worked with, and for, foreign governments has come to a complete stall after Taliban militants have surrounded Kabul’s airport, issuing threats of assault to any and all who try and enter the airport.
Old Uncle Joe’s administration announced, this past Tuesday, that the Karzai International Airport could go back to handling military and civilian flights. Few people can access the airport at all, however, after the Taliban popped up and set up a plethora of military checkpoints turning people away. As reported by The Wall Street Journal:
However, many thousands of Afghans who had been employed by Western embassies and nongovernment organizations in Kabul remained stranded and unable to reach the airport for evacuation flights as the Taliban erected checkpoints at airport entrances, whipping and beating Afghans who attempted to cross.
Some evacuation flights were leaving near-empty as a result; the German military’s A400M Airbus, with a capacity of well over 100 passengers, took off Tuesday with just seven passengers aboard.
The militants from the Taliban have set up other checkpoints throughout the city in attempts to vet the city’s residents for any evidence that they had worked with any western countries, as well as screen their devices for any illicit content or English messages, reported the Journal.
Currently, thousands of Americans are also believed to be trapped deep behind these Taliban checkpoints, however, the exact numbers of any Americans are as of yet unknown. As reported by The Daily Wire:
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told CNN that there are “certainly thousands of Americans…we don’t have an exact count.”
“Best guess…between five and ten thousand that are near Kabul,” he continued. “There was a message put out by the State Department today advising those Americans about how to queue up and how to get to the airport so that now that security’s better, they don’t need to necessarily shelter in place.”
“They can begin movement to the airport for processing,” Kirby added.
On Monday, the United States shut down Karzai after thousands of Afghans broke through the airport security and crowded all along the airstrip. Some attempted to cling to the sides of the departing jets seeking to escape Afghanistan and the incoming Taliban rule. Several Afghans were caught on video falling from the sides of the jets just after takeoff. Human remains were discovered in the wheel well of a jet that was forced to make an emergency landing due to malfunctioning landing gear.
The United States is currently preparing to take up to 30,000 visa holders from Afghanistan, along with the evacuation of all U.S. personnel and troops. The Afghans that the U.S. is attempting to relocate are part of many that had worked alongside the United States military during its operations inside Afghanistan.
“We want to have the capacity to get up to several thousand immediately, and want to be prepared for the potential of tens of thousands,” stated Kirby. “Bliss and McCoy have the capability right now – and what’s advantageous is with a little bit of work, they could increase their capacity in very short order.”
“Once we get more airlift out of Kabul, we’re going to put as many people on those planes as we can. There will be a mix, not just American citizens, but perhaps some Afghan SIV applicants as well,” he went on. “We’re going to focus on getting people out of the country, then sorting it out at the next stop. It’s not going to be just Americans first, then SIV applicants. We’re going to focus on getting as many folks out as we can.”