US Will No Longer Allow Afghan Refugees To Board Evacuation Flights
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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US will 'stop letting Afghan refugees board evacuation flights TODAY': 20,000 people are still waiting at Kabul airport but troops are rushing to get remaining Americans out first before August 31 deadline