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US Will No Longer Allow Afghan Refugees To Board Evacuation Flights

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 23 Aug 2021 18:49
US Will No Longer Allow Afghan Refugees To Board Evacuation FlightsPA Images

The US has asked Afghan residents to stop turning up at Kabul airport so it can focus on evacuating Americans.

The country has helped in the efforts of evacuating thousands of residents as a result of the Taliban’s takeover, but is now said to be prioritising American citizens.

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US troops are set to be fully removed from Afghanistan by August 31, with the Taliban threatening ‘consequences’ if they don’t stick to this date.

Crowds outside Kabul airport (PA Images)PA Images

With the deadline looming, the US has decided to start prioritising American citizens, and said only US and NATO citizens should go to the airport.

At the time of writing, there’s thought to be around 20,000 people currently at Kabul airport, MailOnline reports.

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John Johnson, Public Affairs Officer for the US Embassy in Kabul, told CNN:

We are currently prioritizing American citizens and legal permanent residents for entry. Due to a deteriorating security environment we are asking all others not to come to the airport at this time – the gates remain closed.

While the gates are currently closed, the US hopes to move to permitting applicants for the US’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, CNN reports, as well as the US embassy’s local Afghan staff.

Kabul Airport (PA Images)PA Images
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Discussing the US’s evacuation efforts so far, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the country has been able to evacuate ‘several thousand Americans’.

‘Afghans in need are still being processed and facilitated. The goal is to get as many people out as fast as possible. The focus is on doing this as best we can by the end of the month,’ he added.

Since August 14, the US has removed 37,000 people from Afghanistan, many of whom are said to have been Afghan nationals.

With the deadline being just a week away, G7 leaders including Boris Johnson are expected to plead with Joe Biden to push the deadline for US troops to withdraw further back.

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President Biden (PA Images)PA Images

At a White House press conference yesterday, August 22, it was confirmed that Biden had been in talks about extending the deadline, but the Taliban has since said the US ‘must adhere’ by the August 31 cut-off.

Taliban spokesperson Sohail Shaheen told CNN today, August 23, ‘August 31 is the deadline announced by them. The US must adhere to removing troops from Afghanistan by this date. Otherwise, it will be a clear violation.’

It’s expected the UK’s evacuation efforts will end when the US stops its own efforts – whether that’s the 31st or afterwards.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Afghanistan, Evacuation, Joe Biden, no-article-matching, Now, US, World News

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