The Pentagon says the number of evacuations out of Kabul has been ramped up significantly.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
Joint Staff Deputy Director for Regional operations Army Maj. Gen. William ‘Hank’ Taylor confirmed that 16,000 passengers left Kabul in the last 24 hours.
“As of this morning, within the last 24 hours, 25 U.S. military C-17s, three U.S. military C-130 and then a combination of 61 chartered commercial and other military flights departed Kabul,” said Taylor.
“The total passenger count for those flights was approximately 16,000, of that number. The U.S. military transported just under 11,000 personnel.”
Taylor also confirmed that five flights arrived at Dulles International Airport with approximately 1300 passengers.
“At this time for military installations as well as Dulles International are receiving Afghans as they come into the United States,” said Taylor.
“These installations include Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Fort Lee, Virginia, Joint Base McGuire Dix, Lakehurst, New Jersey. And Fort Bliss, Texas. The total number currently at these installations is approximately twelve hundred and northCom continues to build out capacity to ensure they are prepared to receive more flights that will come in the next few days.”
A central problem in the evacuation operation is processing evacuees once they reach other countries in the region and in Europe. Those temporary waystations, including in Qatar, Bahrain and Germany, are sometimes reaching capacity, although new sites are being made available, including in Spain.
In an attempt to alleviate that, and to free up military aircraft for missions from Kabul, the Pentagon on Sunday activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.
The Defense Department said 18 aircraft from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Omni Air, Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines will be directed to ferry evacuees from interim waystations.
The airlines will not fly into Afghanistan. The six participating airlines have agreed to assist for a little less than two weeks, which roughly coincides with the currently planned duration of the airlift, which is to end Aug. 31.