Joe Biden’s administration restarted evacuation flights from Afghanistan on Aug. 16. The U.S. military temporarily suspended air traffic after hundreds of civilians hung onto a moving aircraft with their arms and legs.
The delay lasted for several hours until the Pentagon finished deploying 2,500 American troops to Kabul Airport. A further 1,000 is expected to arrive on Aug. 17. The U.S. Army is confident it can control the airport long enough to evacuate Americans and their supporters.
Security had to be bolstered because thousands of Afghan asylum seekers overwhelmed armed U.S. military officers guarding Hamid Karzai International Airport. BL understands the Afghans were not deterred by warning shots fired in the air, and pushed their way up a stairwell to join the flight. Others ran onto the tarmac and tried to grab on.
Troops were reportedly fired on at least twice and seven individuals died according to U.S. authorities.
Disturbing images also went viral on the internet, showing what appears to be hundreds of the Afghans chasing and jumping onto the exterior of a U.S. Air Force plane on the runway. Some of them cling onto different moving parts as the C-17 plane carrying U.S. officials makes its ascent.
The chilling footage ends with at least two stowaways falling several feet to their death.
The desperation is complete. Afghans don’t want to be left behind as US evacuates. pic.twitter.com/efZgNcyzpU— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 16, 2021
About 700 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14 according to NBC News. President Biden wants to evacuate more than 20,000 Afghans who applied for special immigrant visas to U.S. bases.
“Our military embraces the opportunity to recognize their contributions to combined operations in Afghanistan by welcoming them into the United States,” Director of Defense Intelligence Garry Reid said according to the broadcaster. “We are looking to establish 22,000 spaces [and] we can expand if we need to.”
Officials are trying to create capacity to support refugee relocation at temporary sites.
Hamid Karzai international airport. 16 August, 2021. pic.twitter.com/LXsAQPpFXG— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 15, 2021
Department of State spokesman Ned Price confirmed all embassy personnel has been safely evacuated from the airport.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies believes the Biden administration should have anticipated this chaotic situation.
“We are told this is a responsible exit when we are watching what is happening–the tarmac where U.S. Air Force’s transport planes are being overrun with civilians,” foundation senior fellow Bill Roggio said according to the broadcaster. “That airport is not secure.”
President Biden finally broke his silence on the Taliban seizing control of the presidential palace. He defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
The Democrat admitted the situation deteriorated much earlier than expected, after inheriting a withdrawal deal negotiated by the previous administration.