US evacuates 1,200 more from Kabul as numbers dip ahead of withdrawal
The United States evacuated roughly 1,200 people from Kabul, Afghanistan, from early Sunday into early Monday as the number of evacuees steadily drops in the hours before the U.S. military withdrawal.
The White House reported 26 military flights and 2 coalition flights carried just over 1,200 people out of Kabul between 3 a.m. on Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday. That number is a decrease from 2,900 people evacuated from Saturday morning into Sunday morning.
From Friday morning into Saturday morning, the White House reported roughly 6,800 people had been evacuated from Kabul. Those numbers were down significantly from the peak of roughly 20,000 evacuees per day early last week.
U.S. military and coalition flights have evacuated more than 120,000 people from the Kabul airport since the end of July, with the majority being vulnerable Afghan civilians.
White House officials have noted the number of evacuees was going to dip as the Aug. 31 U.S. military withdrawal deadline inched closer. With the full drawdown on track for Tuesday, the final evacuation flights are likely to leave Kabul in the coming hours.
The State Department said Sunday that there were up to 250 Americans still in Afghanistan who have indicated they are trying to get out, in addition to roughly 280 others who have yet to decide whether they want to leave the country or intend to stay.
President Biden has indicated any American who wants to leave Afghanistan will be brought home, though it’s unclear how the U.S. will facilitate their departure once the military has left and the Taliban control the Kabul airport.
The airport has been a dangerous place in recent days as scores of American citizens and Afghan civilians gather near its gates to try to get on the final evacuation flights out of the country.
A suicide bombing near the airport on Thursday killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans. U.S. officials said a drone strike on Sunday targeted a car in the area laden with explosives. And the U.S. military reportedly shot down rockets aimed at the Kabul airport on Monday morning.