More than 10,000 people are awaiting evacuation at Kabul airport, the US defence department said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Europe and the rest of the world are scrambling to complete evacuations ahead of the US withdrawal deadline of next Tuesday, August 31.
Since the effort began on August 14, roughly 88,000 people have already departed, including 19,000 people in the last 24 hours, the Pentagon said.
Up to 1,500 Americans may still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan
At least 1,500 Americans remain in Afghanistan with just days left before the scheduled United States withdrawal from the country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday the U.S. has airlifted 4,500 U.S. citizens and their families out of Afghanistan in the last 10 days, and there may be up to 1,500 Americans who still want to leave the country as part of the massive evacuation effort by the Biden administration in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover.
No extensions for evacuation of Afghans from Kabul airport, warn Taliban
Even as Western governments stated they were running out of time, the Taliban said Tuesday that they would not agree to a delay in the evacuation of Afghans from Kabul airport.
European countries have stated that they would not be able to transport at-risk Afghans before the August 31 deadline, and US President Joe Biden has faced widespread appeals to prolong the evacuation window.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, speaking at a press conference in Kabul, said the organization would not agree to an extension and warned the US to prevent withdrawing skilled Afghans.
Mujahid also advised female Afghan government employees to stay at home until the country’s security situation improves.
After the Taliban warned that the US would not be allowed to prolong the deadline for a complete evacuation, US-led soldiers have stepped up operations to evacuate thousands of people from Kabul.
“Even if (the evacuation) lasts until August 31 or a few days longer, it will not be enough to allow those who we, or the US, wish to fly out,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Bild TV.
If the US met the deadline, France said it would have to stop evacuating Afghans from Kabul’s airport on Thursday, while Spain claimed it would not be able to save all Afghans serving in Spanish missions.
Meanwhile, Britain has stated that it will push for an extension at a virtual G7 summit scheduled for later Tuesday.