- U.S. transferring out 1000’s every day -Biden
- Britain to push for sanctions on Taliban at G7 -sources
- Hundreds nonetheless exterior airport hoping to be evacuated
KABUL/WASHINGTON, Aug 22 (Reuters) – The US has an “unwavering dedication” to get U.S. residents and at-risk Afghans to security out of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden mentioned, as Taliban fighters beat again 1000’s determined to flee exterior Kabul airport on Sunday.
Biden mentioned the safety state of affairs in Afghanistan was altering quickly and his administration was beneath no illusions in regards to the risk from Islamic State militants in Afghanistan often known as ISIS-Ok (for Khorasan).
The Taliban, which seized energy in Afghanistan final week as the US and its allies withdrew troops after a 20-year conflict, fired within the air and used batons to pressure folks to type queues exterior the airport, witnesses mentioned. On Saturday, seven folks had been killed in a crush on the gates.
“Let me be clear, the evacuation of 1000’s from Kabul goes to be exhausting and painful” and would have been “irrespective of when it started,” Biden mentioned in a briefing on the White Home.
“We now have a protracted approach to go and loads might nonetheless go mistaken,” Biden mentioned.
Biden mentioned he had directed the State Division to contact People stranded in Afghanistan by cellphone, electronic mail and different means, and the US had a plan to maneuver them to the airport.
“We’re executing a plan to maneuver teams of those People to security and to securely and successfully transfer them to the airport compound. For safety causes, I am not going to enter element … however I’ll say once more immediately what I’ve mentioned earlier than: Any American who needs to get house will get house.”
Afghan allies of the West and weak Afghans reminiscent of girls activists and journalists can be helped too, he mentioned.
On Sunday, there have been no main accidents as gunmen beat again the crowds, in accordance with witnesses. The Taliban had been “cooperative” about extending the airport perimeter, Biden mentioned.
Requested by a reporter whether or not the US would lengthen an Aug. 31 deadline for evacuations, Biden replied: “Our hope is we won’t have to increase however there are going to be discussions I believe on how far alongside we’re within the course of.”
Britain’s defence ministry mentioned seven Afghans were killed within the crush across the airport on Saturday as 1000’s tried to get a flight out. Sky Information confirmed troopers on a wall on Saturday making an attempt to drag the injured from the crush and spraying folks with a hose to forestall them from getting dehydrated.
A NATO official mentioned at the very least 20 folks have died up to now seven days in and across the airport. Some had been shot and others died in stampedes, witnesses have mentioned.
The US on Sunday sought the assistance of six commercial airlines to move folks after their evacuation from Afghanistan. The Pentagon mentioned it might use 18 plane from United Airways, American Airways, Delta Air and others to hold evacuees from momentary areas. Biden mentioned folks had been being assisted by greater than two dozen nations in 4 continents.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson known as a virtual meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations for Tuesday to “guarantee protected evacuations, forestall a humanitarian disaster and help the Afghan folks”.
Britain plans to push world leaders to contemplate new sanctions on the Taliban when the G7 meets, sources informed Reuters. Biden mentioned he would help that effort, relying on the conduct of the Taliban.
Panicked Afghans have tried to board flights out of Kabul since final weekend, fearing reprisals and a return to a harsh model of Islamic regulation the Sunni Muslim group exercised whereas in energy 20 years in the past.
Leaders of the Taliban, who’ve sought to point out a extra average face since capturing Kabul, have begun talks on forming a authorities.
They face opposition from forces in northern Afghanistan, which said this weekend that they had taken three districts near the Panjshir valley.
Anti-Taliban chief Ahmad Massoud mentioned on Sunday he hoped to carry peaceable talks with the Islamist motion however that his forces within the Panjshir – remnants of military items, particular forces and militiamen – had been able to struggle.
“We need to make the Taliban realise that the one approach ahead is through negotiation,” he mentioned. “We don’t want a conflict to interrupt out.”
The US and different nations together with Britain have introduced in a number of thousand troops to assist evacuate overseas residents and at-risk Afghans from Kabul, however have been cautious to keep away from clashes with the Taliban.
A Taliban official mentioned “we’re in search of full readability on overseas forces’ exit plan”.
Taliban political workplace spokesman Mohammed Naeem informed Saudi-owned Al Hadath TV that talks are ongoing with the US and different nations. He mentioned al Qaeda is just not current in Afghanistan and the Taliban has no relationship with them.
Afghans who fled this week have spoken about their despair at leaving family members behind. “It was very troublesome to depart,” a veiled lady informed Reuters in Qatar. “I really like my nation.”
The World Well being Group and U.N. youngsters’s company UNICEF known as for a humanitarian air bridge to ship support to Afghanistan to assist greater than 18 million folks in want.
Military Main Normal William Taylor mentioned on Saturday that previously week the United States has evacuated 17,000 folks, together with 2,500 People, from Kabul. The U.S. had evacuated about 11,000 folks in simply over 30 hours, Biden mentioned.
On one of many flights, an Afghan lady gave start on board moments after touchdown at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Saturday, the U.S. Air Pressure mentioned on Twitter. The lady delivered a child lady within the cargo bay of a C-17 plane. The mom and child had been in good situation, the tweet mentioned.
Reporting by Kabul bureau, Rupam Jain, Idrees Ali, Simon Lewis, Andrea Shalal, Susan Heavey; Writing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Clarence Fernandez, Raissa Kasolowsky, Giles Elgood and Grant McCool; Enhancing by William Mallard, Frances Kerry, Jan Harvey and Daniel Wallis
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.