The U.S. government has ordered 18 aircraft from six U.S. airlines to support evacuation operations in Afghanistan. Pentagon, Ministry of Defense announced.
Flights do not fly to Kabul Airport to take part directly in the departure mission from Afghanistan. But they will be used to fly those evacuated from temporarily moved sites. In this way, military aircraft can focus on flights to and from Kabul.
The United States flies from Kabul to Germany and Qatar before people leave for the United States.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the 18 planes were from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaii Airlines and United Airlines.
The Pentagon may request commercial aircraft as part of a reserve fleet known as the Civil Reserve Air Fleet or CRAF. Such a call is very rare: this is only the third time the reserve has been activated. According to the Pentagon, this took place in 1990-91 and 2002-03 as part of Iraq’s mission.
It is not entirely clear how many Americans and Afghan workers the US government should bring to the defense. President Joe Biden has previously spoken about 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. citizens, as well as 50,000 to 65,000 U.S. allies and their families.
The U.S. military has evacuated about 17,000 people from Afghanistan since the evacuation began.
Kabul Airport until the end of August
The United States is responsible for securing Kabul International Airport, from which many Western nations are trying to expel people from Afghanistan, which is once again under the control of the radical Islamic Taliban. The Americans want to stay there until August 31, but after that date the U.S. military is uncertain. Biden said last week that the surgery could be extended, depending on how many more people need to be evacuated.
According to US media reports, the US President will address the gathering on Sunday at 10 pm Belgian time on the situation in Kabul and the expulsions.
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