The United States is exploring methods to evacuate American residents and Afghan allies looking to go away Afghanistan together with by way of land routes, US officers stated on Wednesday, reasserting a dedication to assist eligible individuals who weren’t airlifted out.
Two days after the final US flight left the airport in Kabul, State Department and Pentagon officers stated Washington can also be targeted on transferring evacuees from non permanent lodging to everlasting resettlement within the US or different international locations.
US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland stated the Biden administration is engaged in “ongoing intensive diplomatic work” to assist US residents and Afghan allies wishing to go away Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the nation.
“We are looking at all possible options – air routes, land routes to continue to find ways for them to help evacuate and to support them in that,” she stated throughout a information briefing.
Nuland welcomed efforts by Qatar and Turkey to reopen the airport in Kabul in coordination with the Taliban. “They have relatively optimistic projections about when that will happen, but we need to see it happen obviously,” she instructed reporters.
She stated the administration’s “top priority” is to get the 100 to 200 remaining US residents in another country.
Nuland declined to share particulars concerning the doable land routes to minimise potential dangers for individuals who could have to take them.
Also, on Wednesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated Washington absolutely backs efforts to reopen the airport in Kabul, which he stated would enable US residents to go away Afghanistan and allow the supply of humanitarian assist.
“The Turks and the Qataris together with forces on the ground are working as quickly as they can to reopen the civilian airport,” he stated. “This is an endeavour that we continue to support in every way we can because we believe it is important for our own interests.”
The US formally introduced the tip of its 20-year navy presence in Afghanistan on Monday after evacuating greater than 120,000 folks, together with 6,000 American residents, since mid-August.
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” President Joe Biden stated on Tuesday in defence of the withdrawal. “The decision to end the military lift operations at Kabul airport was based on unanimous recommendation of my civilian and military advisers.”
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in a lightning offensive earlier this month because the US was pulling its troops in another country. The group reached Kabul on August 15 as President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation and authorities forces collapsed.
Biden has confronted criticism from US allies and Republican legislators over the withdrawal, in addition to the chaotic scenes that unfolded at Kabul airport as Afghans desperately tried to get on evacuation flights in concern of Taliban repression.
Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin lauded the evacuation effort, nevertheless, saying he was “proud” of the function the US navy performed within the battle.
“Now the war is over, and we’re entering a new chapter – one where our diplomats and our interagency partners take the lead,” he stated. “We’re part of an urgent team effort to move Afghan evacuees out of temporary housing in intermediate staging bases in the Gulf and in Europe and on to begin new lives.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated the US is looking to accommodate as many as 50,000 Afghan refugees on navy bases briefly till they’re resettled. “There is capacity and we’re working towards capacity at our military bases for up to 50,000,” she stated.
US officers have careworn they may maintain the Taliban to its pledge to guarantee a protected passage for these looking to go away.
The US navy had coordinated with the group through the evacuation operation – a relationship that Washington describes as pragmatic, not a recognition.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, the highest US common, instructed reporters on Wednesday that the Taliban has been “ruthless” previously however careworn that Washington had to work with the group to guarantee the protection of the evacuation operation.
Milley didn’t rule out future coordination with the Taliban in opposition to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-Ok), an ISIL affiliate. Asked if Washington would coordinate with the Taliban in opposition to ISKP going ahead, he answered: “It’s possible”.
Austin, standing subsequent to Milley, interjected and stated that he wouldn’t “want to make any predictions”.