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August 30 Afghanistan-Taliban news

Pentagon announces completion of Afghanistan withdrawal
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What we're covering

  • The Pentagon announced the last US military planes have left Afghanistan, marking the end of the United States’ longest war.
  • The departure is the first time in nearly two decades that the US and its allies have not had troops on the ground.
  • The evacuation effort met President Biden’s withdrawal deadline, but has been marked by chaotic and bloody events. More than 170 people were killed, including 13 American service members, in last week’s attack near Kabul’s airport.

Our live coverage of the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan has moved here.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says he's "proud of the part" the US played in the war in Afghanistan

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives at the US Capitol before briefing members of the House of Representatives on August 24 in Washington, DC.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he is “proud of those with whom I served and led” in a statement marking the end of the conflict in Afghanistan.

“For my part, I am proud of the part that we played in this war. I am proud of the men and women who led me. I am proud of those with whom I served and led. And I am proud of the intrepid, resilient families who made what we did possible,” Austin said.

Austin said the evacuation effort was “historic” and that “no other military in the world could accomplish what we and our allies and partners did in such a short span of time.” 

“That is a testament not only to our forces’ capabilities and courage but also to our relationships and the capabilities of our allies and partners,” he said.

Here's the last US soldier leaving Afghanistan

In this photo tweeted by the US Department of Defense, Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commanding general of the All American Division XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a US Air Force C-17 on August 30.

The Department of Defense has tweeted a picture of Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, boarding a C-17 to depart Kabul.

He was the last soldier to depart the country. 

On Monday, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, told reporters that Donahue and the top US diplomat in Kabul, Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson, were the last two US officials to step off of Afghanistan soil and onto a US military aircraft out of Afghanistan.

“On the last airplane out was Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd airborne division and my grand force commander there, and he was accompanied by our charge Ambassador Ross Wilson, so they came out together,” McKenzie said.

“The state and defense team came out on the last aircraft and were in fact the last people to step on the ground, step on the airplane,” he added.

US and allies working to reopen Kabul airport "as soon as possible," Blinken says

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US and its allies are discussing ways to reopen the airport in Kabul as quickly as possible to facilitate safe travel out of Afghanistan for Americans, US legal permanent residents and Afghans who worked with the US to leave the country.

“We discussed how we will work together to facilitate safe travel out of Afghanistan, including by reopening Kabul’s civilian airport soon as possible,” Blinken said.

He continued: “And we very much appreciate the efforts of Qatar and Turkey, in particular, to make this happen. This would enable a small number of daily charter flights, which is a key for anyone who wants to depart from Afghanistan moving forward.” 

Secretary of state outlines US' next steps in Afghanistan: "A new diplomatic mission has begun"

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the United States’ next steps in Afghanistan “a new chapter,” saying the country will now lead a diplomatic mission with the nation after it withdrew all of its military forces.

Blinken outlined the US’ plans for the “days and weeks ahead,” including suspending their diplomatic presence in Kabul as of today and creating a new team.

“First, we built a new team to help lead this new mission. As of today, we suspended our diplomatic presence in Kabul and transferred our operations to Doha, Qatar, which will soon be formally notified to Congress. Given the uncertain security environment and political situation in Afghanistan, it was the prudent step to take,” he said.

Blinken said that for the time being, the US will use this post in Doha to “manage our diplomacy with Afghanistan, including consular affairs, administrating humanitarian assistance, and working with allies, partners and regional and international stakeholders to coordinate our engagement and messaging to the Taliban.”

The secretary of state thanked the top US diplomat in Kabul, Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson, for his work in Afghanistan, saying he has “done exceptional, courageous work during a highly challenging time.”

Blinken says "small number" of Americans remain in Afghanistan

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that State Department believes there is “a small number of Americans, under 200 and likely closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave.”

“We’re trying to determine exactly how many. We’re going through manifests and calling and texting through our lists,” Blinken said in remarks at the State Department. The top US diplomat noted that there are residents of Afghanistan who have US passports who were trying to determine if they should leave.

Blinken said the State Department would help Americans leave no matter when they decide that they wish to depart.

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said earlier Monday that no American citizens were evacuated on the last five flights out of Afghanistan.

Secretary of state says completing the withdrawal from Afghanistan "was a sacred duty"

On the heels of the United States officially completing the withdrawal from Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lauded the effort of the operation, calling it “one of the most difficult in our nation’s history.”

Speaking from the State Department, Blinked referenced the various challenges of the mission, noting that what the United States achieved was a “feat of logistics and coordination under some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable.”

With the Pentagon announcing that the last US military planes have left country, the United States’ longest war formally came to a close, an achievement that relied on the efforts of countless Americans, both in Afghanistan and stateside.

“I want to commend our outstanding diplomats who worked around the clock and around the world to coordinate the operation,” said Blinken, who noted completing the task required the solving of “problem after problem to keep the mission moving forward.”

Calling the evacuation operation “very personal,” the secretary of state referenced the countless lives lost throughout the war.

“We also lost cherished members of our foreign service community in Afghanistan,” he said, adding “we’ll never forget them.”

Rescuing Americans and Afghan partners alike became “more than just a high stakes assignment for our team,” said Blinken. Instead, he called it a “sacred duty,” one conducted on a global stage, allowing the world to see how American “diplomats rose to the challenge with determination and heart.”

NOW: Secretary of state speaks after US announces completion of Afghanistan withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is delivering remarks on Afghanistan after the Pentagon announced that the last US military planes have left country – marking the end of the United States’ longest war.

During his remarks tonight, Blinken thanked the US’ allies and partners.

“This operation was a global endeavor in every way. Many countries stepped up with robust contributions at the airlift including working at the airport. Some are now serving as transit countries allowing evacuees to be processed on their way to the final destination. Others agreed to resettle Afghan refugees permanently and we hope more will do so in the days and weeks ahead. We’re truly grateful for their support. Now, US military flights have ended and our troops have departed Afghanistan,” he said.

The exit also marks the first time in nearly two decades that the US and its allies have not had troops on the ground in Afghanistan. After $2 trillion in spending and nearly 2,000 US troops killed in action, the pullout also raises questions about the utility of the 20-year war.

With no US diplomats remaining in the country a senior State Department official said that they expected the US Embassy in Kabul to suspend embassy operations upon the end of the military retrograde but said “that doesn’t mean that we are suspending any commitments to American citizens in Afghanistan, to at risk Afghans, to the Afghan people.”

As of Monday, more than 122,000 people had been airlifted from Hamid Karzai International Airport since July, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, including 5,400 Americans.

Some US military equipment removed from Afghanistan and other items disabled, top general says

Some of the US military equipment used in Afghanistan was removed from the country and other items were disabled, Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, told reporters during a briefing on Monday.

The US military kept some equipment operating until nearly the end of the withdrawal to protect US forces and people at Kabul international airport, McKenzie said. That equipment was “demilitarized,” McKenzie said, meaning it was disabled in a way that makes it impossible to use. 

As an example, McKenzie said he advanced C-RAM defensive system, which stands for Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar, was left at Hamid Karzai International Airport. The automated C-RAM system, which detects incoming fire and destroys it with a machine gun, was activated just one day before the withdrawal was complete, when militants fired approximately five rockets at the airport. Two rockets that would have landed on the field were intercepted by C-RAM. 

“It’s a complex procedure, complex and time intensive procedure to break down those systems so we de-militarized those systems so that they’ll never be used again, and we just felt it more important to protect our forces than to bring those systems back,” McKenzie said. 

The US military also left behind about 70 MRAPS or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, 27 Humvees, which are tactical vehicles, and 73 aircrafts at the Kabul airport. This equipment was disabled, McKenzie said. A “total of 73 aircraft, those aircraft will never fly again when we left, they’ll never be operated by anyone,” McKenzie said.

Biden thanks US forces: "Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended"

US Army soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 16.

President Biden thanked the final US forces serving in Afghanistan for executing the “dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled,” with no further loss of American lives, in a statement released Monday evening, making the end of the United States’ longest war.

“The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve,” the President wrote in the statement released Monday night. 

Biden said he will address the nation on Tuesday on his decision to not extend America’s presence in Afghanistan past Aug. 31, but said in his statement that “it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned.”

“Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead,” he wrote.

The President also made clear he intends to hold the Taliban accountable to their commitment to allow those seeking to leave the country will be able to do so safely.

“The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments. It will include ongoing diplomacy in Afghanistan and coordination with partners in the region to reopen the airport allowing for continued departure for those who want to leave and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” the President wrote.

Earlier Monday, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie acknowledged that the US military “did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”

Biden ended his statement “with a moment of gratitude for the sacrifice of the 13 service members in Afghanistan who gave their lives last week to save tens of thousands,” naming each of the American service members killed.

Top diplomat and military commander were the last two American officials to depart Afghanistan

The last two US officials to step off of Afghanistan soil and onto a US military aircraft out of Afghanistan were Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, and the top US diplomat in Kabul, Charge d’Affaires Ross Wilson, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, told reporters during a briefing on Monday.

“On the last airplane out was Gen. Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd airborne division and my grand force commander there, and he was accompanied by our charge Ambassador Ross Wilson, so they came out together,” McKenzie said.

“The state and defense team came out on the last aircraft and were in fact the last people to step on the ground, step on the airplane,” he added.

FAA prohibits US flights over most of Afghanistan

The Federal Aviation Administration is prohibiting US civil operators, pilots and US-registered civil aircraft from operating at any altitude over much of Afghanistan, according to a statement sent Monday. 

“US civil operators may continue to use one high-altitude jet route near the far eastern border for overflights. Any U.S. civil aircraft operator that wants to fly into/out of or over Afghanistan must receive prior authorization from the FAA,” the statement said.

Shortly before, the FAA issued a notice to airmen, saying that effective immediately, Hamid Karzai International Airport is “uncontrolled.” 

“No air traffic control or airport services are available. Aircraft operating into, out of, or through Kabul (flight information region) and landing OAKB should use extreme cautions,” the notice said, using the international abbreviation for the airport.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, announced Monday that the last US military planes have left Afghanistan. The US departure marks the end of a fraught, chaotic and bloody exit from the United States’ longest war.

Taliban "very pragmatic" and "businesslike" in final moments of US presence, top general says

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, said the Taliban have been “very pragmatic and very businesslike” during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

McKenzie said that one of the last things Maj. Gen. Chris Donahue did before leaving Afghanistan was “talk to the Taliban commander.”

The US did coordinate with the Taliban commander on when the US was leaving, “but there was no discussion of turning anything over of that at all,” McKenzie said.

“We did not turn it over to the Taliban. General Donahue, one of the last things he did before leaving was talk to the Taliban commander that he had been coordinating with, as soon as, about the time we were going to leave just to let them know that we were leaving. But there was no discussion of turning anything over of that at all,” McKenzie said.

Celebratory gunfire heard in Kabul after departure of last US aircraft

Parts of Kabul erupted in celebratory gunfire after the last US C-17 aircraft lifted off from Hamid Karzai International Airport right before midnight local time on Monday. 

A local reporter working with CNN heard heavy gunfire and saw tracer fire arcing across the sky shortly after the last aircraft departed.  

Video viewed by CNN showed Taliban fighters on a street in the capital firing automatic weapons into the air. 

US military conducted "largest non-combatant evacuation" in its history, Pentagon says

An air crew prepares to load evacuees aboard an aircraft in support of the Afghanistan evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 21 in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

The US military conducted the “largest non-combatant evacuation” in the military’s history over the past 18-day period starting on Aug.14, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command said on Monday.

In the 18 days, the US military evacuated 79,000 civilians from Hamid Karzai International Airport, he added.

Out of the 79,000 evacuated, that included 6,000 Americans and more than 73,000 third-country and Afghan civilians, McKenzie said.

“This last category includes Special Immigrant Visas, consular staff, at-risk Afghans and their families,” he said.

“In total, US and coalition aircraft combined to evacuate more than 123,000 civilians which were all enabled by US military service members who were securing and operating the airfield,” Mckenzie explained. 

During the evacuation mission, the US military evacuated “more than 7,500 civilians” on average over the 18 days, including evacuating 19,000 on a single day during the mission, McKenzie said. 

“The numbers I provided represent an accomplishment, but they do not do justice to the determination, the grit, the flexibility, and the professionalism of the men and women of the US military and our coalition partners who were able to rapidly combine efforts and evacuate so many under such difficult conditions,” he said.

Top general acknowledges US "did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out"

Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the top general of US Central Command, acknowledged that the US military “did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.” 

“But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out that we wanted to get out and there still would’ve been people who would’ve been disappointed with that. It’s a tough situation,” he said.

“I want to emphasize again that simply because we have left that doesn’t mean the opportunities for both Americans that are in Afghanistan who want to leave and Afghans who want to leave. They will not be denied that opportunity,” McKenzie added.

No Americans evacuated on last 5 flights out of Afghanistan, top US general in Middle East says

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie said Monday that no American citizens made it on the final five evacuation flights leaving Kabul, meaning that Americans who may have wished to leave Afghanistan have been left on the ground. 

“We maintained the ability to bring them in up until immediately before departure, but we were not able to bring any Americans out. That activity ended probably about 12 hours before our exit, although we continued the outreach and would’ve been prepared to bring them on until the very last minute, but none of them made it to the airport and were able to be accommodated,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said there were no evacuees left at the airport when the final flights left.

A senior State Department official said earlier Monday the Department believed there were fewer than 250 American citizens who may wish to leave Afghanistan.

“We believe there’s still a small number who remain, and we’re trying to determine exactly how many,” the official told reporters Monday. “We are going through manifests of people who have departed, we are calling and texting and WhatsApping and emailing our lists, in an effort to have a more concrete figure regarding how many Americans may remain.”

The official declined to say how the US intends to help Americans and others who wish to leave after the US government is no longer present on the ground, saying that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss it in his remarks on Monday evening.

Blinken on Sunday said that “our commitment to continue to help people leave Afghanistan who want to leave and who are not out by September 1st, that endures. There’s no deadline on that effort. “

The last US C-17 aircraft lifted off from Kabul just before the US withdrawal deadline, Pentagon says

The top US general for the Middle East, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, said the last US C-17 lifted off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport “on August 30th, this afternoon, at 3:29 p.m. East Coast time, and the last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan.”

The local Kabul time for the last US aircraft liftoff was 11:59 p.m. Aug. 30, the US deadline for withdrawal was Aug. 31.

Pentagon announces complete US withdrawal from Afghanistan 

A press briefing is held at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on August 30.

Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, commander of US Central Command, announced the completion of US withdrawal from Afghanistan during a Pentagon news conference on Monday.

“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the mission to evacuate American citizens, third country nationals and vulnerable Afghans. The last C-17 lifted off from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 30, this afternoon. at 3:29 pm East coast time, and the last manned aircraft is now clearing the space above Afghanistan,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie added that the US will continue the diplomatic evacuation mission.

“While the military evacuation is complete, the diplomatic mission to ensure additional US citizens and eligible Afghans, who want to leave, continues,” he said.

“Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation, but also the end of the nearly 20-year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after September 11, 2001. It’s a mission that brought Osama bin Laden to a just end, along with many of his al Qaeda co-conspirators. It was not a cheap mission. The cost was 2,461 US Service members and civilians killed and more than 20,000 who were injured. Sadly, that kills 13 service members who were killed last week by an ISIS-K suicide bomber. We honor their sacrifice today as we remember their heroic accomplishments,” he continued.

McKenzie also highlighted the sacrifices of those who served in Afghanistan and his personal connection to the mission.

“No words from me could possibly capture the full measure of sacrifices and accomplishments of those who served, nor the emotions they’re feeling at this moment. But I will say that I’m proud that both my son and I have been a part of it,” he said.

The last US military planes have left Afghanistan, marking the end of the United States’ longest war

Planes are seen on the tarmac at the airport in Kabul late on August 30.

The last US military planes left Afghanistan with troops and the remaining core diplomatic staff, Commander of US Central Command, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie announced Monday at the Pentagon. 

The US departure marks the end of a fraught, chaotic and bloody exit from the United States’ longest war.

The departure marks the first time in nearly two decades that the US and its allies have not had troops on the ground in Afghanistan after $2 trillion in spending and nearly 2,000 US troops killed in action.

A senior State Department official said Monday that the State Department will not have civilians on the ground once the US military leaves Afghanistan. “We are not going to have civilians on the ground once the military has left,” they said. 

The official said that they expected the US Embassy in Kabul to suspend embassy operations upon the end of the military retrograde, but said “that doesn’t mean that we are suspending any commitments to American citizens in Afghanistan, to at risk Afghans, to the Afghan people.”

UN Security Council approves resolution to create "safe passage" zone from Kabul after US withdrawal

The UN Security Council has approved a resolution for creating a “safe passage” zone for people seeking to leave Afghanistan from Kabul’s airport after the US withdrawal from the country.

The Council is relying on the Taliban to secure a safe passage out for Afghans and foreign nationals seeking to leave the country.

 Here is a breakdown of the vote:

  • 13 votes in favor
  • 2 abstentions, including China
  • None opposed

Following the adoption of the UN resolution, UN Director at Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau issued a statement urging the Taliban to uphold human rights and he called on other countries “do their part by speedily processing asylum claims and issuing visas for at-risk Afghans so they can resettle.”

“The Taliban should know that the world is watching them closely. They should allow Afghans wishing to leave Afghanistan to do so freely, as they have pledged and the UN Security Council is calling for,” the statement said. “The Taliban should also heed the Council’s call that it uphold international human rights law, including the rights of women and girls, children and minorities. They will be judged by their actions, not their words.”

Biden told commanders on the ground they should "stop at nothing" to go after ISIS members, Psaki says

President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 26.

President Biden has made clear to his military commanders that they should “stop at nothing” to make ISIS pay for the deaths of 13 American service members in Afghanistan last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Asked by CNN’s Phil Mattingly if Biden personally gave the green light to a drone strike on an explosives-laden vehicle that US Central Command had said posed an “imminent ISIS-K threat,” to the airport in Kabul, Psaki did not directly answer, but said the commanders have the authorities necessary to carry out such strikes.

“I can tell you that the President has made clear to his commanders that they should stop at nothing to make ISIS pay for the deaths of those American service members at the Kabul airport,” Psaki said at the White House press briefing.

“Obviously, these are ISIS terrorists who killed US service members, and the President is regularly briefed, but he has directed them to go after and to kill these ISIS terrorists who have taken the lives of the men and women serving our country,” she added.

CNN has reported that Sunday’s drone strike killed 10 members of one family, including seven children, according to a relative of those killed who spoke to a local journalist working with CNN. Central Command had said earlier they were assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties.

Biden expected to address Afghanistan in "the coming days," White House says 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that as the US military presence in Afghanistan approaches its final hours, Americans can expect to hear from President Biden in “the coming days.”

Psaki would not give specifics when asked whether Biden would speak on Tuesday, the US deadline to evacuate Afghanistan, saying the public should “expect to hear from the President in the coming days.”

Of his time spent with the families of those service members who died in Afghanistan last week, Psaki said Biden was “deeply impacted.”

“He knows first hand that there’s nothing you can say to a family member, to someone who loses a child, that is going to fill the black hole,” she said.

Psaki added that she would not speak to the specifics of those conversations but that Biden was “grateful” to be at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer and to honor the service members sacrifice.

US Kabul drone strike death toll rises to 10

A funeral is held for the victims who were killed in a US defensive airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday.

The remains of a two-year-old girl were identified by family members in Kabul today as the 10th person to have died in Sunday’s US drone strike, Omid Haqparast, a family member told CNN.

The remains of the girl, named Malika, were recovered on Monday. 

According to the family, Malika had been missing after the airstrike. They went to several hospitals but were unable to find her. When they came back to the airstrike site, near where they live, they began searching again, and somehow found her remains at the scene – a day after the airstrike.

The US carried out a defensive airstrike in Kabul Sunday, targeting a suspected ISIS-K suicide bomber who posed an “imminent” threat to the airport, US Central Command said.

Haqparast told CNN it is unclear whether Malika was inside the vehicle or in the compound that was targeted by the drone on Sunday.

Relatives of the 10 victims spent Monday at a Kabul hospital identifying remains and separating them into coffins.

Two of the coffins were marked with the names Malika and Sumaya. Both girls were two-years-old and the youngest victims of Sunday’s airstrike, according to the family.

The funerals took place on Monday for the 10 family members killed on the hill of Khawja Rawash. Family members shouted “Death to America” as they gathered around the coffins.

Some more background: The US strike came after two bombing attacks on Thursday outside Kabul’s airport that killed 13 US service members and at least 60 Afghans, according to the Pentagon and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health.

The deadly blasts occurred as the United States and other Western countries raced to complete a massive evacuation of their citizens and Afghan allies following the Taliban takeover of the country.

The US military said in their statement on Sunday that there were “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”

Maj. Gen. Bill Taylor, Joint Staff deputy director for regional operations, told a press briefing Monday: “We are aware of reports of civilians casualties. We take these reports extremely seriously”

On Monday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US works hard to avoid civilian casualties.

“We’re investigating this. I’m not going to get ahead of it. But if we have significant – verifiable information that we did take innocent life here, then we will be transparent about that, too. Nobody wants to see that happen,” he said. 

“But you know what else we didn’t want to see happen. We didn’t want to see happen what we believe to be a very real, a very specific and a very imminent threat to the Hamid Karzai International Airport and to our troops operating at the airport as well as civilians around it and in it and that is another thing that we were very concerned about.”

Pentagon: "Threat stream is still real" and "active" to Kabul airport

The “threat stream is still real. It’s still active, and, in many cases, it’s still specific,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said when asked if another attack on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul was still likely.

“We’re taking it very seriously and we will right up until the end,” Kirby said.

Kirby said after the US conducted a drone strike on a vehicle heading towards Kabul airport on Sunday, there were rocket attacks on the airport.

“We are operating under the assumption that we need to be prepared for future potential threats,” Kirby said. “And as the general detailed for you in his opening statement, there was in fact, after we took this air strike, there were rocket attacks, indirect fire rocket attacks on the airport.”

Former Afghan special forces commandos may be incorporated into British army, source says

Former Afghan Special Forces commandos may be incorporated into the British army after fleeing Kabul, according to one senior source in the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan has yet to be formalized.  

The idea, according to the UK’s Press Association, has the support of Conservative MPs who are also military veterans including Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, and Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defense select committee.

The timeline for discussion of the proposal within Parliament is currently unclear.  

The proposal is to incorporate hundreds of Afghans who have had intense training from British Special forces, and years of combat experience, into the army either as a regiment in its own right or by absorbing the soldiers into other units. 

“We can’t treat them like the Poles in ‘45 otherwise they’ll all become Uber drivers,” said one senior defense source. 

An Defense Ministry source close to Defense Secretary Ben Wallace speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Cabinet minister was “considering a variety of options within Operation Warm Welcome.​”

First reported in the Daily Telegraph the plan to absorb the Afghan troops would be a way of keeping the expensively trained soldiers’ skills available to British generals – much like Britain’s other “foreign legion” the Brigade of Gurkhas, who are recruited from Nepal.

At least 34 unaccompanied Afghan children have arrived in the US, official says

At least 34 Afghan children who were evacuated arrived in the United States without parents, according to an administration official, although some have already been reunited with family in the country.

The children are placed into the care of the Health and Human Services Department, which oversees an expansive shelter network to house minors until they can be reunited with a sponsor, such as a parent or guardian in the US. The unaccompanied children arriving from Afghanistan are placed into that network until they can be relocated.

The figure, first reported by CBS, is small compared to the hundreds of migrant children who are transferred to HHS care daily from the US southern border, though it underscores the frenzied evacuation out of Afghanistan. HHS did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.  

CNN earlier reported about four young siblings who landed in the US on Sunday after hiding in Afghanistan’s capital. They are waiting to be reunite with their mother, who lives in the US.

The administration has implemented additional medical support for vulnerable populations, including unaccompanied children, according to DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, who was speaking on a call to local and state law enforcement Friday. State health officials, as well as staff from HHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also assisting, he said. 

There is a standardized process for all arrivals from Afghanistan to the United States, which includes Covid-19 testing and potential quarantine. Covid-19 vaccinations are also available at both Dulles and Philadelphia airportts, the airports being used for arrivals. 

“We are acutely aware that this is a vulnerable community who has gone through so much, and will continue to have challenges in terms of access to health care and other services and so we wanted to ensure that Covid vaccinations are available,” Gandhi said for all Afghans arriving in the US. 

Full medical care, including, tuberculosis screening, MMR vaccination and polio vaccination, is available at the military bases, where many Afghans are being temporarily housed in the US. 

UK has evacuated more than 15,000 people from Afghanistan

British military personnel depart a C-17 aircraft at Royal Air Force Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, late Sunday, August 29. The final UK troops and diplomatic staff were airlifted from Kabul on Saturday, drawing to a close Britain's 20-year engagement in Afghanistan and a two-week operation to rescue UK nationals and Afghan allies.

The UK has evacuated a total of 15,063 people from Afghanistan since Aug. 13, the country’s Home Office tweeted Monday. 

More than 8,500 of the evacuated are at-risk Afghans, who are part of the country’s ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy) re-settlement scheme for Afghan nationals that have supported British efforts in Afghanistan. 

“Our commitment to the people of Afghanistan will endure,” adds the tweet. 

About 1,200 people evacuated from Afghanistan in last 24 hours, Pentagon says

About 1,200 evacuees departed Afghanistan on 26 military C-17 aircrafts in the last 24 hours, Gen. Hank Taylor, deputy director of Regional Operations for the Joint Staff, said during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. In total, 28 flights departed from Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, he added.

More than 122,000 people – including 5,400 Americans – have departed Afghanistan as of today, Taylor added. 

Now, evacuees are awaiting follow-on transport in both the US Central Command area of responsibility which covers the Middle East and the European Command area of responsibility which covers Europe. 

Another 27,000 evacuees are waiting for “follow-on movement from six active locations,” in the US Central Command area, and 22,000 people are waiting for follow on movement in the European Command area, Taylor said.

There are 13,000 evacuees that remain at five different locations in the Northern Command area of responsibility, Taylor added. 

17 flights will transport more than 3,700 people to both Dulles and Philadelphia International Airports today, Taylor said.

“These numbers are a snapshot in time and movement of personnel is very fluid. We do not expect these passenger totals to match the total number of evacuees from Afghanistan nor will they match the total number of evacuees in the United States,” Taylor said.