U.S. commercial airlines braced to help evacuate Americans and Afghan partners from Afghanistan, as President Biden says his administration discusses an extension of his Aug. 31 deadline for troop withdrawal American countries.
Airlines began positioning planes to comply with a Pentagon order, announced Sunday morning under a rarely-invoked law that required six airlines to provide 18 planes to help with the evacuation. The first flights carrying evacuees were expected Monday. Officials said the commercial plane will not fly to and from Kabul, but will transport evacuees to the United States from bases in Germany, Qatar and Bahrain to ease transport bottlenecks.
The intensification of activity came as thousands of people tried to enter the chaos outside Kabul airport in an attempt to flee, fearing retaliation from the Taliban, who captured the capital there. has a week. President Biden and US officials have also warned that Islamic State terrorists pose a threat to Americans in Afghanistan and that US officials are working to stop potential attacks and defend the airport.
The airlift is now entering a critical phase, accelerating after days of chaos at Kabul airport that stunned the world and dealt a serious blow to the Biden administration, which predicted an orderly withdrawal to see the Taliban to seize the Afghan capital in a few days. U.S. forces have been working to protect the airport and increase the number of departing flights before Mr. Biden’s August 31 deadline for the United States to leave the country. On Sunday, Biden said talks were underway among U.S. officials over extending the deadline.
“Our hope is that we won’t have to extend,” he said in remarks from the White House. “But I expect there will be discussions on the status of the process.” Mr Biden had also raised the possibility last week that troops could remain in Kabul after August 31 if necessary to ensure that Americans and Afghans who have worked for the United States for the past two decades are not not abandoned.