October 28, 2021

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Washington is mobilizing private jets to help evacuate Afghanistan

These flights will not depart from Kabul airport, the Pentagon said in a statement, but will help carry evacuated people to third countries such as Qatar or the United Arab Emirates.

The ministry said the implementation of the program, called CRAF, would “allow military aircraft to focus on operations in Kabul.”

In total, 18 aircraft have been mobilized, owned by American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaii Airlines and United Airlines.

The plan was triggered only twice in the past, during the Gulf War in 1990-91, and then twice during the 2002-2003 invasion of Iraq.

Since August 14, about 17,000 people have been expelled from Afghanistan by the United States, including 2,500 Americans.

But even a week after the Taliban came to power, thousands of people tried to flee the country on Sunday, and chaos ensued at Kabul airport, where scenes of panic and despair followed one another.

In an interview with ABC, US President Joe Biden said he planned to expel all Americans (by some estimates 10,000 to 15,000) and hoped that Afghan allies and their families (between 50,000) would be able to do so. And 65,000).

The deadline for the US administration to finally withdraw US troops from Afghanistan is August 31.

“We will continue to assess the situation and work as hard as we can to get as many people out as possible,” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin told the ABC on Sunday morning.

“We can’t give an exact number for what we can do, but we’re going to exceed expectations, do as much as we can, take as many people as we can, as much as possible,” he said.

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“As we approach the deadline, we will make a recommendation to the president,” he said.

Critics are also raising concerns about the fate of Americans stranded outside the airport, while the US embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday urged its compatriots to refrain from traveling to the airport due to “security threats”.

“We are constantly considering various, innovative ways to communicate with U.S. citizens and help them get to the airport,” the Secretary of Defense said.