U.S. Army Major General William Taylor speaks at a press briefing at the Pentagon on August 17, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
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The United States evacuated 2,500 Americans from Kabul last week, senior U.S. officials said Saturday, adding that Washington is fighting “time and space” to evacuate people from Afghanistan.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Major General William Taylor said 17,000 people had been evacuated so far, including 2,500 Americans. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said he did not have a “perfect figure” about how many Americans remain in Kabul and Afghanistan beyond.
“We fight both time and space,” Kirby said. “It’s a race we’re in right now. We’re trying to do it as fast and safely as possible.”
Kirby declined to describe the specific “threat dynamics” in Kabul, but called the security situation “fluid and dynamic”. Kirby said the U.S. goal is “to get as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And that’s the focus.”
Taylor, with the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said 3,800 people have been evacuated by the U.S. military and charter flights from Kabul airport in the past 24 hours.
A week after the Islamist militant group Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the United States is desperately trying to evacuate thousands of people, including Americans and Afghans at risk, who worked with U.S.-led forces during the country’s two-day U.S. war. There were chaotic scenes at the airport in Kabul as the evacuation took place.