By the end of August, the Biden Administration plans to fly thousands of Afghan refugees, American civilians, and allies out of Afghanistan. However, the Defense Department has no current intentions to help people trapped in Kabul behind a bombardment of Taliban checkpoints to the airport. The US military is focusing on securing the airfield and prioritizing evacuating those within the airport’s perimeter.
The Taliban has control of all Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. There is where Hamid Karzai International Airport is located, the only functional airport in the country.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reported that he could not utilize the military to help open a path to the airport. “I do not have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul,” he told reporters Wednesday at a press conference with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.
“We will stay focused on securing the airfield… We cannot afford to either not defend that airfield or not have an airfield that’s secure, where we have hundreds or thousands of civilians that can access the airfield at will and put our forces at risk,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Austin proposed that forces on the ground could take military action. He did not specify what that would involve or what frontiers might be inflicted on their combat. He said those forces are not equipped to go into the city and evacuate large groups of people before the administration’s deadline of August 31st to withdraw from the city.
Advancing into Kabul could ignite a fight for territory between the US and the Taliban, who appear to be waiting out American forces.
A Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shahenn, told NPR that Americans will not be attacked. However, US forces are expected to complete their withdrawal by September 11th. Any further than that could be considered an “occupation,” he added.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to get all Americans out and our allies out,” – President Joe Biden.
Biden said if the military can enhance its evacuations to 5,000 to 7,000 people per day, everybody will be out by the end of the month.
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