US troops continue to evacuate Kabul as Aug 31. deadline looms

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US troops continue to evacuate Kabul as Aug 31. deadline looms

A steady stream of US military jets were taking off and landing in Kabul on Monday even after rocket fire targeted the airport — as the White House said it had the capacity to evacuate the remaining 300 US citizens who want to leave ahead of the looming Aug. 31 deadline.

US service members were among those spotted getting on military planes at Hamid Karzai International Airport just one day before President Biden’s deadline hits.

It came hours after five rockets targeting the airport were intercepted by a US anti-missile system. There were no US casualties and the airfield continued to operate evacuation flights, according to US officials.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, estimated there were still about 300 Americans that remain in Afghanistan who want to evacuate.

“We have the capacity to have 300 Americans, which is roughly the number we think are remaining, come to the airport and get on planes in the time that is remaining,” he said.

As of Sunday morning, the US said that 2,900 people were evacuated on military and allied flights out of Kabul.
As of Sunday morning, the US said that 2,900 people were evacuated on military and allied flights out of Kabul.
ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images
US soldiers escorting Afghan evacuees to buses for onward movement during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
US soldiers escorting Afghan evacuees to buses for onward movement during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP

He added the US doesn’t plan to have an embassy presence after the US troop withdrawal is completed but vowed to make sure there was a “safe passage” for Americans or “those Afghans who helped us” after the Tuesday deadline.

The US is working with other countries in the region to keep the airport open after the deadline, or reopen it in “a timely fashion.”

US officials said there are about 280 Americans still in Afghanistan who have told the State Department they want to stay.

The Taliban investigates a car from which a rocket was fired from with Kabul's airport being the intended target.
The Taliban investigates a car from which a rocket was fired from with Kabul’s airport being the intended target.
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport on August 27, 2021.
Afghan refugees arrive at Dulles International Airport on August 27, 2021.
OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Since the Taliban took control of the country two weeks ago, about 114,000 people have been evacuated.

In the 24 hours ending Sunday morning, 2,900 were evacuated on military and allied flights out of Kabul.

The US carried out a drone strike in Kabul on Sunday that hit a vehicle carrying multiple ISIS suicide bombers, officials said.

According to the US State Department, almost 280 Americans in Afghanistan have decided to stay past the evacuation deadline.
According to the US State Department, almost 280 Americans in Afghanistan have decided to stay past the evacuation deadline.
AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images
US troops process Afghan refugees through the evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
US troops process Afghan refugees through the evacuation control center at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
AP

The military drone fired a Hellfire missile at the vehicle in a compound after two individuals were spotted loading explosives into the trunk, according to the US officials.

Those two individuals are believed to have been killed. An Afghan official said three children were also killed in the drone strike.

It is the second airstrike the US carried out against ISIS in recent days after the group claimed responsibly for the suicide bombing that killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans at the airport.

The Pentagon said a drone mission in eastern Afghanistan killed two ISIS members early Saturday in retaliation for the airport bombing.

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