Sunday, November 28

The US accelerates and guarantees the departure of all its citizens

Correspondent in New York



The US exit from Afghanistan picks up pace as the days go by, but with great differences between the evacuation of the US citizens who are still in the country and that of the tens of thousands of Afghans who collaborated with them during the two decades of war. Since last day 14, when the Taliban were at the gates of Kabul and it was a matter of hours before the Afghan capital fell into their hands, The US has evacuated 7,000 people from the country. It is not known how many of them are US citizens – it is estimated that there were between 10,000 and 15,000 at the time of the Taliban offensive against Kabul -, how many are from third countries and how many are Afghans in danger.

The State Department assured yesterday that during the previous night a message had been sent to all Americans in Afghanistan to go to the airport if they wanted to leave the country. According to its spokesperson, Ned PriceYesterday there were 6,000 people inside the airport – he did not say how many were Americans and how many from other countries – who had already been processed and were ready to be evacuated.

“We hope that twenty planes will leave tonight,” he said about the flights that will take them out of Kabul, whose airport is controlled by a contingent of about 5,000 American soldiers.

Price defended about the evacuation that “things are moving quite efficiently at the moment”, a statement that contrasts with the images recorded by US reporters from networks such as CNN and ABC News and others shared by Afghan citizens on social networks, in the It was clear that confusion, chaos and violence still dominate the area around the airport, the only way out for almost anyone who wants to escape from Afghanistan.

Taliban security cordon

The Taliban have established a security cordon around the airport and different checkpoints at the access points, which it makes access difficult for the majority of Afghans who want to leave the country.

“There have only been a handful of reports about Americans having problems getting into the airport,” said Price, making it clear that the US does not have much capacity to control what happens outside the airport, where his government – as well as other countries Westerners – has its diplomatic representation after having evacuated its embassy last weekend.

Price insisted that access to the airport should be allowed to all Afghans who want to get there “we will continue working on it”, but the situation yesterday continued without major changes and without the Taliban guaranteeing ‘safe conduct’ for all Afghans who they would like to leave the country. The US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, He assured two days ago that the Taliban would commit to this safe conduct, something that is still far from being achieved.

From a military point of view, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged yesterday that the US Army does not have “the capacity” to open access to the airport, now controlled by the Taliban.

The State Department spokesman assured that by today there will be doubled the number of consular personnel to expedite the processing of evacuees.

The Pentagon has assured that it has the capacity to evacuate between five and nine thousand people a day from Kabul and, although that level has not yet been reached, human trafficking has accelerated.

What is still not clear is whether it will be enough to remove all Americans before the square marked for the evacuation operation, on August 31. In an interview on ABC News, Biden guaranteed that troops would stay beyond that deadline if the departure of US citizens has not been completed.. But he did not give the same guarantees on the evacuation of the Afghan allies, whose number is much higher. The US president estimated that there are between 50,000 and 65,000 Afghans who cooperated with the US – including their families – that the US is trying to evacuate (other estimates put that number at 88,000).

His departure, given the impossibility for the majority of reaching the airport, could be lengthened and the US does not seem at the moment willing to offer any more commitment than to “get as many people as possible.”

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