The United States has evacuated about 7,000 people from Afghanistan in five days, including over 2,000 over the last 24 hours, Pentagon officials told reporters on Aug. 19.
The number of people who have been evacuated from the war-torn country since July has reached 12,000, including American citizens, U.S. embassy staff, Afghans qualified for special immigrant visas, and other evacuees, Army Major General William Taylor said at a press conference.
“We intend to maximize each plane’s capacity; we’re prioritizing people above all else, and we’re focused on doing this as safely as possible with absolute urgency,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, at least 5,200 U.S. troops are on the ground at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghan capital Kabul.
Taylor added that there were now multiple gates for entry into the airfield, which will expedite the evacuation efforts “in a safe and orderly manner.”
When asked how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said, “I don’t know.”
“I don’t have that figure, and I’d refer you to my State Department colleagues for the best estimate on that,” Kirby added.
U.S. officials said on Aug. 17 that as many as 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters on Aug. 19 that the U.S. has fully processed 6,000 people for evacuation and are currently at the airport to board planes.
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