Wars & Rumours of Wars

Discussion in 'Present & Current Events' started by Toroid, May 15, 2019.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    What a clusterfuck...x...3

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    US SUSPENDS rescue flights out of Kabul after Doha airbase that was receiving refugees reached capacity and only 3,000 people were flown out overnight - including just 350 Americans

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    US evacuation flights out of Kabul were suspended for eight hours on Friday while troops scrambled to find somewhere new to send them after the air base in Doha that was accepting everyone reached capacity overnight in yet another stumbling point in the catastrophic rescue effort in Afghanistan.

    The US flights have so far all been going to the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Doha, Qatar, which has the capacity to accommodate 10,000 people.

    On Friday, the base reached capacity after receiving thousands of Afghans over the last five days and it has turned into a 'full-blown humanitarian disaster,' according to people there.

    Now, flights are expected to go to airbases in Bahrain and Germany but by 2pm EST on Friday, none had taken off. They were due to resume on Friday afternoon. Only 3,000 people were evacuated from Kabul on US planes on Thursday and of them, only 350 were American.

    (More on the link)

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  2. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    One of America's most-wanted terrorists on the streets of Kabul: Taliban fundraiser Khalil Haqqani - who has a $5m bounty on his head for his links to Al Qaeda - greets adoring crowds in Kabul

    Khalil Haqqani, one of America's most wanted terrorists, has led prayers for Taliban fighters in Kabul where he was greeted by adoring fans. The Taliban fundraiser, who also has links to Al Qaeda, has a $5million bounty on his head but was cheered on the streets of Kabul before he led prayers at the city's biggest mosque. Haqqani is now an integral part of the Taliban's moves to set up a government and he had armed escorts as he entered the religious building. Haqqani is part of the Haqqani network which has played a major role in the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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  3. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    There have been many complaints that American forces are hiding behind barbed wire whilst other NATO allies are taking the risks going out into the city to save westerners including American citizens...

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  4. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    West's empty promises: How many people have we actually evacuated?

    America

    The promise: At least 22,000 evacuees including US citizens and those holding visas

    Aid groups said 80,000 visas may need to be issued to keep Biden's pledge to help all those who aided US forces, but that promise has almost certainly been broken

    The reality: Just 7,000 people have been airlifted out of Kabul in the last five days, the Pentagon said Thursday, despite there being capacity for up to 9,000 per day

    Since the end of July, some 12,000 people have been airlifted out, including Embassy staff, citizens of NATO countries, at-risk Afghan nationals as well as Afghans with special visas

    Who's left? That means to keep even its most-modest promises, the US has at least 10,000 more people to evacuate before the air bridge closes

    Britain

    The promise: The UK said it wants to evacuate 7,000 UK citizens and Afghan staff from the country

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson then promised to take another 5,000 refugees this year as part of a scheme that will allow 20,000 to settle over five years

    The reality: Britain evacuated 2,163 people from Kabul between Sunday night and Friday morning, and is aiming to take out another 1,000 per day as long as flights can keep operating

    In total, the UK has now taken some 3,800 people out of Afghanistan in recent weeks, including more than 600 UK citizens and thousands of Afghans covered by the resettlement scheme

    Who's left? To keep its most-modest promises, the UK must evacuate some 3,200 people - but up to 8,200 if the prime minister's pledge to take refugees is to be met


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  5. HAL9000

    HAL9000 Honorable

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    Trump seems very quiet on this. One would expect him to be trumpeting 'told you so' at every opportunity.
     
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  6. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    More lies from Biden...

    Defense Secretary Austin contradicts Biden, says Americans beaten by Taliban trying to reach airport

    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin contradicted President Biden on Friday, telling House lawmakers on a phone call that multiple Americans trying to reach the Kabul airport have been beaten by Taliban fighters, two lawmakers told Fox News.

    Austin called the beatings "unacceptable," a person on the phone call told Fox News. Austin's remarks starkly contrasted with what Biden told reporters after his speech on Friday.

    When asked about reports that some Americans were being blocked from reaching Hamid Karzai International Airport for evacuation, Biden denied that any Americans were having such trouble.

    "To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports," Biden said, adding that "we know of no circumstance where American citizens, carrying an American passport," were being blocked from reaching the airport.

    "We have no indication that they haven't been able to get in Kabul through the airport. We've made an agreement with with the Taliban thus far."

    Austin's comments, which were first reported by Politico, marked the second time that the Biden administration contradicted what Biden told the public in his speech Friday.

    Pentagon press secretary John Kirby conceded that al Qaeda does have a "presence" in Afghanistan, even though Biden said that the terrorist group is "done" in Afghanistan.

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  7. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    'The resistance is still alive': Afghan resistance claims to have captured three towns north of Kabul in fighting that 'killed or injured 60 Taliban fighters'

    Afghan resistance has claimed to have captured three towns north of Kabul in fighting that 'killed or injured 60 Taliban fighters'. Local forces are reported to have taken back the Pul-e-Hesar, Deh-e-Salah and Banu districts in the Baghlan province on Friday.

    Writing in Persian, Afghan Defence Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi said the three areas had been reclaimed, adding: 'The resistance is still alive.'

    A Twitter account under the name 'Panjshir Province' - the only area not controlled by the Taliban - earlier said the Pul-e-Hesar was captured while 'fighting was raging' in the other two districts.

    Tajuden Soroush, a senior correspondent for Iran International, said the Banu and Pol-e-Hesar areas had been taken back, according to an ex-Afghan government official. He later added that Deh-e-Salah had fallen to anti-Taliban forces.

    The Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul is Afghanistan's last remaining holdout, known for its natural mountainous defences. It follows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirming that SAS-trained Afghan commandos have joined an armed resistance to the Taliban in the Valley.

    (More on the link)

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  8. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Don Bolduc calls Afghanistan exit a 'geopolitical disaster of unparalleled proportions'

    Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and was one of the first Special Forces officers in the country after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, called the Biden administration's decision to withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan a "geopolitical disaster of unparalleled proportions."

    The Taliban has gained control of the majority of Afghanistan territory amid the U.S. military's withdrawal from the country after 20 years, prompting thousands of citizens to flee their homes and seek refuge in the U.S. and elsewhere.

    "I am very familiar with American history, and I have never seen a withdrawal or an action by the United States military that put so many people in peril and danger and was so … irresponsible towards our national security, both inside America and outside America," Bolduc said.

    He continued: "And the damage that it does to our reputation — the damage that it does to the faith and confidence that people would have in us — and the doors that it opens for potential enemies like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. I mean, this is a geopolitical disaster of unparalleled proportions. I believe I could have given this mission to a lieutenant and he would have planned it better."

    (More on the link)

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  9. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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  10. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan warns US citizens to avoid airport in Kabul

    The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan issued a security warning on Saturday advising U.S. citizens to avoid the airport in Kabul.

    "Because of potential security threats outside the gates at the Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," the embassy posted Saturday morning.

    The warning added that authorities will contact all registered U.S. citizens with further instructions as the situation updates.

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  11. AD1184

    AD1184 Noble

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    902
    This makes for interesting reading in light of the above:

    Withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan as Trump administration scheduled

    Withdraw troops as Trump administration scheduled. The Afghanistan Study Group is wrong.
    Opposing View: As a retired brigadier general, I include myself in our failures. We have lionized the generals when we should have lionized our troops
    Don Bolduc | Opinion contributor

    Do not change the course established by the Trump administration for withdrawing U.S. service members from Afghanistan.

    I could not disagree more with the congressionally appointed Afghanistan Study Group that recommended reversing on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The panel just made the military industrial complex very happy and covered the butts of Congress, many generals and officers and senior federal civilians for making nearly 20 years of bad decisions.

    To the “think tank” experts, pundits and members of Congress, senior civilian and senior military officers who say, oh, our withdrawal from Afghanistan will make America more dangerous and susceptible to terrorist attack, I say, there are no credible assessments that support this conclusion.

    We need a regional focus that gets us out of the “muddle through” strategy in Afghanistan that has tied us down to one country for two decades.

    For quite some time now, the filling of body bags and hospital beds has not been justified, and nobody is being held accountable for that.

    Our departure would need to be an international effort and focus on economic and diplomatic support underwritten by political support. The military would leave a small regional counterterrorism capability to support the Afghan government with targeting al-Qaida and the Islamic State terrorist organization.

    Our tactical level units have performed admirably, but our political leaders, policymakers and senior general officers have failed them.

    They have taken the Afghan government, military and police as far as they can go. It is now up to the Afghans. Good tactics never fix bad strategy.

    As a retired general officer, with 10 tours in Afghanistan, I include myself in these failures. We have lionized the generals when we should have lionized our men and women who did the work under poor policy and strategy and an inadequate operational approach.

    It is time now to draw the right lessons from the experience, if only to honor the sacrifices made by the service members who fought there.

    Don Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who did 10 tours in Afghanistan from 2001-13 and who commanded special operations troops, is an associate professor at New England College.

    So he wanted Biden to commit to the hasty withdrawal in line with Trump's agreement with the Taliban, and when Biden gave him what he wanted, he is wise after the fact that it made America look bad and excoriates Biden for it, hoping no one remembers that he wrote an article urging Biden to do exactly this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
  12. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    It's not the message its the method. In this case the method appears to be ridiculously if not criminally negligent and most of our allies would likely agree with that.
     
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  13. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    I think you missed the point, a prompt withdraw is fine, its the method in which it was done which is the problem now...They've been taking troops out since April, why weren't the civilians evacuated sooner before the Taliban marched through the country and into Kabul?...This whole exit plan was not executed responsibility...

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  14. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    U.S. Embassy tells Americans NOT to go to Kabul airport due to security threats: Warning is issued one day after Biden said there was 'no indication' Taliban was stopping citizens during speech which was then contradicted by the Pentagon

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    President Joe Biden claimed on Friday (left) there has been 'no indication' that the Taliban has blocked Americans from reaching the airport or have been attacking US citizens or Afghans who helped Americans during the war, but less than 24 hours later the U.S. Embassy told Americans on Saturday not to go to Kabul airport - which is the only way out of the country - because of 'security threats' outside its gates. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, who contradicted Biden twice after his speech on Saturday, declined multiple times to say what the threats are - if they were outside threats - such as Taliban attacks - or internal threats caused by the crowded, dangerous conditions at the gate. Kirby contradicted the president on Friday, saying that al-Qaeda remains present in Afghanistan and he was aware of reports of the Taliban attacking people on the way to the airport (middle). Meanwhile, US Marines are patrolling the Kabul airport gates (top right), which Major Gen. Hank Taylor said were closed multiple times 'for short durations' over the last 24 hours 'to allow the proper people to come in and out of those gates.' Over the last week, Gen. Taylor said 17,000 people - including 2,500 Americans - have been evacuated by plane (bottom right). Refugees are being flown to about a dozen countries.

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  15. AD1184

    AD1184 Noble

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    The recommendations of the Afghanistan Study Group are summarized as follows:

    The Study Group began its work in April 2020, shortly after the United States and the Taliban signed the Doha agreement that led to the current negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Those negotiations have created a pathway to peace, one that the Study Group believes can allow the return of our men and women in uniform under conditions that honor the sacrifices that have been made and that protect U.S. interests. But if that opportunity is to be fully exploited, there needs to be a significant revision of U.S. policy.

    The most important revision is to ensure that a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops is based not on an inflexible timeline but on all parties fulfilling their commitments, including the Taliban making good on its promises to contain terrorist groups and reduce violence against the Afghan people, and making compromises to achieve a political settlement.

    Other elements of this policy revision are:


    • An immediate diplomatic effort to extend the current May 2021 withdrawal date in order to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result.
    • A recognition that, in addition to conducting counterterrorism operations and supporting the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, a key objective of the ongoing U.S. military presence is to help create conditions for an acceptable peace agreement. The February 2020 Doha agreement and the subsequent troop reductions clearly demonstrated that the United States is prepared to withdraw from Afghanistan. It should not, however, simply hand a victory to the Taliban.
    • Continued basic support, with other donors, for the essential institutions of the Afghan state, including security institutions, while continuing to message our Afghan partners that this support is not open-ended and is conditioned on progress in the peace talks. A key consideration of the Study Group was that while we support the values of the Afghan government and recognize that its collapse could create significant problems for the region and beyond, U.S. decisions about America’s presence in Afghanistan cannot be held hostage to the divisions, ineffectiveness, corruption, and shortsightedness that the Afghan government has too often displayed.
    • Continued support for courageous members of Afghan civil society who have been instrumental in securing essential gains in rights, education, and health and who have been and will continue to be key in supporting a sustained peace.
    • A reemphasis on diplomacy and negotiation, including a regional diplomatic strategy implemented over the longer term. There is broad regional support for a U.S. withdrawal that is responsible rather than precipitate and chaotic. Many countries in the region, especially Pakistan, have influence over the Taliban and other participants in the peace process. They should actively use this influence to make the peace process successful because they will ultimately benefit from its success.
    • The harnessing and coordination of international support for a post-agreement Afghan state. Donors who, with us, have helped rebuild Afghanistan over the past twenty years are willing, based on certain conditions, to also sustain support for a post-agreement Afghan state. These efforts must be unified and coherent.

    By focusing on the single objective of achieving an acceptable peace agreement that ends the conflict between the Taliban and the Afghan government, U.S. messaging, policies, and actions can finally be aligned. The purpose of the U.S. troop presence should also be clear: not to pursue an endless war but to support a peace process that will allow American troops to return home under conditions that guarantee our national interests.
    [Emphasis is theirs and not mine - AD]

    In General Buldoc's own words, he "could not disagree more with the congressionally appointed Afghanistan Study Group that recommended reversing on the withdrawal from Afghanistan." This is itself an incorrect summary of the recommendations (which you can read above). It recommended an extension of the timeline to withdraw, not a reversal to the policy of withdrawal, in order to prevent the outcome that we are now seeing. The ASG even said "U.S. decisions about America’s presence in Afghanistan cannot be held hostage to the divisions, ineffectiveness, corruption, and shortsightedness that the Afghan government has too often displayed." i.e. They're going to have to go it alone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
  16. AD1184

    AD1184 Noble

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    Am I missing the point?

    According to the Fox News article:

    The 33-year Army veteran detailed 20 years of shifts in leadership and military missions in Afghanistan through four presidents and said he has "less confidence in our senior levels" to handle an effective withdrawal by Sept. 1 and believes the military needs to "go back" into the country to restabilize things.

    "We have a regional area that we should be very concerned with," Bolduc explained. "We've got Pakistan with nuclear weapons. We don't want that to destabilize. We have a very unstable north with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and so on. We have an unstable border with Iran in the west. China and Russia are going to come in and take advantage of this situation. The Taliban are going to go back to their old ways of ruling."

    Current and retired service members "know how to put together the proper plan to go back in there and to change this dynamic in short order against the Taliban and al Qaeda," he said.

    "I'm going to be bold here and I am going to recommend that's what we need to do," Bolduc said of going back into Afghanistan. "…. This is a huge national national security issue for the homeland. … And what we need to do is — I'm sorry, it's the last thing I wanted to recommend — but doing careful thought, we need to go back. We need to do it the right way. And there are people that know how to do it."


    It is effectively what the ASG recommended, to perform the withdrawal the right way. He also said in February that national security concerns surrounding America's withdrawal were exaggerated ("To the 'think tank' experts, pundits and members of Congress, senior civilian and senior military officers who say, oh, our withdrawal from Afghanistan will make America more dangerous and susceptible to terrorist attack, I say, there are no credible assessments that support this conclusion."). Now he is saying exactly that:

    "I have never seen a withdrawal or an action by the United States military that put so many people in peril and danger and was so … irresponsible towards our national security, both inside America and outside America"

    Notice that Buldoc is not talking about the logistical foul-ups in evacuating US citizens and eligible refugees from Afghanistan which have put people's lives in immediate danger, but about the strategic implications for US national security. The dangers faced by evacuees from Afghanistan have no immediate bearing on the national security inside America, so that cannot be what he is talking about. He is talking about the implications of a full American withdrawal from the conflict, in accordance with the unconditional retreat promised in Trump's agreement with the Taliban, and to a schedule which Buldoc publicly endorsed in February (which has actually been postponsed by three months by Biden).

    There does not appear to be any way to maintain regional stability except by keeping a permanent and sizeable US troop contingent in Afghanistan to prop up the puppet government and keep the Taliban at bay. Although the opportunity for choosing this course has now passed, given that the government no longer exists, and the Taliban is in control of the whole country, except for a small pocket of (non-government) resistance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
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  17. AD1184

    AD1184 Noble

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    I think that among the conflict's supporters and critics, there was little understanding of it. Long-standing critics are now aware that there is a cost of leaving after 20 years, and long-standing supporters are now aware that there was a cost of staying (and also that having sent a few Afghan women to university was not much of an indicator of progress). The chaos of the withdrawal has taken almost everyone by surprise. Very few seemed to have any comprehension how utterly dependent the Afghan government and armed forces were on the foreign military presence, and how they would provide almost literally no resistance at all to a Taliban takeover without foreign military support. It was realized only after the fact that they would not provide an effective 'rear guard' action for the Coalition's retreat (although this tendency was anticipated by many who had experience with the country, their warnings fell on deaf ears).

    Both Biden and Trump, and other western leaders, seemed to be under the mistaken assumption that the Afghan government could take care of itself at least long enough for the Coalition to get its people out of the country. They had no idea how factional Afghan society is (at least ten major ethnicities), how fractious its armed forces were, nor how they were fundamentally disloyal to any concept of national unity and would disband immediately when faced with fighting the Taliban alone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2021
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  18. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Needed to break away off this topic for a day, it's kind of like swimming in the water for too long, the skin gets shriveled up, one gets waterlogged lol...I also have an emotional element in this since my nephew had to go back to that country because of poor decision-making by our government...The main sticky point for me is that all those American and allied civilians and Afghan accompanying them should have been evacuated before all of the main military forces were evacuated...If we had all of our people out of there and safe back in our country then this collapse would still be awful in my view but at the same time it is their country and if after 20 years of our support they don't have what it takes to support their government then the onus is in them to deal with it...Since we have thousands of Americans still stuck there because they weren't evacuated beforehand the onus is on us to deal with it until all the westerners are out...They knew this day would come and apparently our governemnt knew this would come, it didn't have to be such a completely fuck-up as it is now and the current sitting president is the only one in the crosshairs for blame, "all the king's horses and all the kings men" follow his lead, lack of leadership is no excuse...

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  19. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    If Biden were a Republican, the leftist in Congress would have impeached him by now, their silence over this speaks volumes...

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  20. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    27,392
    So we have no other large cargo planes or troop carriers to rescue people?...These civilian airliners can only hold a few hundred people at a time...

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    Pentagon activates Civil Reserve Air Fleet: Six commercial airlines including American and Delta are told to loan 18 planes to help Afghanistan evacuation efforts

    The Pentagon is calling in reinforcements from six commercial airlines on Sunday in its continued Afghanistan evacuation efforts by activating the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF). Eighteen planes will be used for 'onward movement' of Americans and Afghan allies who are already in 'safe havens and interim staging bases', according to a statement from Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby. 'The Department does not anticipate a major impact to commercial flights for this activation,' he assures in his statement on the activation.

    Stage 1 of the CRAF gives the Department of Defense access to commercial air mobility. The commercial aircraft will not be flying into the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Planes used for this stage of evacuation include four from United Airlines, two from Hawaiian Airlines and three from each – American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air.

    The planes will be used to aid in the airlift of tens of thousands of evacuees, ferrying Americans and Afghans onward to the U.S. from staging bases in Qatar, Bahrain and Germany. Military flights will continue to go to the airport in the Taliban-controlled Kabul to get refugees out of Afghanistan and to these regional bases.

    The activation comes after the Pentagon said Saturday that they were only able to evacuate 2,500 Americans from Kabul in the past week.

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