NATO’s latest development comes as the White House updated its evacuation tally on Aug. 19, saying the U.S. has evacuated about 3,000 more people from Kabul’s airport in the last 24 hours, bringing the total tally of those evacuated by the U.S. to about 14,000 since the operation started at the end of July.
“The U.S. evacuated approximately 3,000 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport on 16 C-17 flights,” the U.S. official said late on Thursday.
“Nearly 350 U.S. citizens were evacuated. Additional evacuees include family members of U.S. citizens, SIV applicants and their families, and vulnerable Afghans,” the official added, referring to special immigrant visa applicants.
President Joe Biden, who has come under fire over the turbulent U.S. withdrawal, is expected to speak on Aug. 20 about the evacuation effort.
Biden’s team has defended his leadership throughout the disaster in Afghanistan, including White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who cut her vacation short after the Taliban takeover.
A NATO official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters that thousands of people desperate to flee the country are still thronging the airport, despite the Taliban urging people without legal travel documents to go home.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that over the past few days, the United Kingdom has evacuated more than 300 Britons and over 2,000 Afghans as part of its resettlement program—with a further 2,000 Afghan applications completed and more being processed.
“We have so far secured the safe return of 306 UK nationals and 2,052 Afghan nationals as part of our resettlement program,” Johnson said on Wednesday.
Germany announced they have been flying military aircraft from Kabul to Tashkent to evacuate more individuals. In its latest update, the country has evacuated around 1600 people on Aug. 20, according to a statement by the German Foreign Ministry. They include an unspecified number of Germans, Afghans, and nationals of international partners.
In other parts of Europe; France, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, among other nations, confirmed they have begun an evacuation operation with flights to the Afghan capital underway. Some of the countries already confirmed the safe return of hundreds of people.
Criticism of NATO and other Western powers has risen as images of the chaos and desperate fear of the Taliban were shared around the world.
Several protesters were killed in the eastern city of Asadabad on Aug. 19 when Taliban terrorists fired on a crowd of people demonstrating their allegiance to the vanquished Afghan republic, as the Taliban set about establishing an emirate, governed by a strict form of Islamic rule.
There were similar shows of defiance in two other cities in the east—Jalalabad and Khost—with Afghans using celebrations of the nation’s 1919 independence from British control to vent their anger with the Taliban takeover.
“Our flag, our identity,” a crowd of protesting men and women chanted as they waved the Afghan national flag.
Reuters contributed to this report.
From NTD News