First United Airlines flight with evacuees from Afghanistan lands in US
From CNN's Pete Muntean
United Airlines says its first evacuation flight with evacuees from Afghanistan on board has arrived on US soil.
The Boeing 777-300 arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia Monday afternoon after flying more than 14 hours from Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar, with a stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to refuel. There were roughly 340 people on board, the airlines said.
The flight was chartered by the military, activated through an agreement between the airline and the government known as the Civil Air Reserve Fleet.
7:53 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
About 10,900 people were evacuated over a 12-hour period from Kabul today
From CNN's Jason Hoffman
Approximately 10,900 people have been evacuated from Kabul over a 12-hour stretch on Monday, according to a White House official.
Fifteen US military C-17 aircraft and 34 coalition flights helped with the evacuations.
“From August 23 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, a total of approximately 10,900 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 15 U.S. military flights (all C-17s), which carried approximately 6,660 evacuees, and 34 coalition flights, which carried 4,300 people,” a White House official said in a statement.
Earlier Monday, the White House said the US had evacuated 10,400 people from Kabul in the previous 24-hour stretch.
7:54 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
Biden still deciding whether to extend Aug. 31 deadline, official says
From CNN's Kaitlan Collins
As of Monday, US President Joe Biden was still deciding whether to extend the deadline for removing all US troops from Afghanistan, CNN has learned.
Military advisers have told the President he must decide by Tuesday to provide enough time to withdraw the troops and equipment on the ground in Kabul. An administration official told CNN on Monday that Biden could signal his decision during his virtual meeting with G7 leaders on Tuesday.
Several of Biden's advisers have advised against an extension, citing the security situation on the ground. Officials have spent recent days monitoring potential terrorist threats, aware that the chaotic situation outside the airfield has created a target for the terror group ISIS-K and other organizations.
6:21 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
Here's how to help Afghan refugees
From CNN's Amy Chillag
The refugee crisis in Afghanistan is growing as the Taliban take over the country.
Since the start of this year, 550,000 Afghans were forced to flee their homes due to internal fighting, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Now, tens of thousands more are trying to leave the country as many Afghans, especially women and children, fear a resumption of Islamic fundamentalism under the Taliban.
Others, including interpreters who helped the US Military fight the Taliban, fear retribution. Afghan journalists who have been covering the war are also at particularly high risk.
If you are a family member or friend of someone trying to flee Afghanistan — or need help yourself, the International Refugee Assistance Project has legal resources to help with visas and other information. If you are currently in Afghanistan, please check the US Embassy website regularly for information about relocation and repatriation.
7:55 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
UK Prime Minister will urge G7 leaders to strengthen support for Afghan people
From CNN's Robert Iddiols
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call on G7 leaders Tuesday to continue to stand by the Afghan people and to strengthen support for refugees and humanitarian aid, according to a Downing Street statement Monday.
Leaders of the G7 are due to meet virtually on Tuesday to discuss a joint approach to securing a more stable future for Afghanistan. Johnson will chair the meeting and is expected to urge international partners to match the UK’s commitments on aid and the resettlement of those most in need, the statement said.
The meeting will take place by video conference and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and UN Secretaries-General have also been invited to join the discussion.
“Our first priority is to complete the evacuation of our citizens and those Afghans who have assisted our efforts over the last 20 years – but as we look ahead to the next phase, it’s vital we come together as an international community and agree a joint approach for the longer term,” Johnson said ahead of the conference.
“Together with our partners and allies, we will continue to use every humanitarian and diplomatic lever to safeguard human rights and protect the gains made over the last two decades. The Taliban will be judged by their deeds and not their words,” Johnson added.
According to the statement, G7 leaders are also expected to reiterate their commitment to safeguarding the gains made in Afghanistan over the last 20 years — in particular on girls’ education and the rights of women and minorities. Discussions are set to cover ongoing collaboration on evacuation efforts at Kabul airport and long-term work to secure a more stable future for Afghanistan and ensure any new government is inclusive and abides by its international obligations.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, speaking in Berlin on Monday, said the G7 nations need to coordinate evacuation efforts from Kabul airport and address the topic of migration. “How will the migration flows be dealt with? Who will be taking on which responsibilities and who can take on which tasks in the process?" Maas asked.
As of Monday, the UK had secured the evacuation of 6,631 people out of Kabul since Operation Pitting began last week, which includes British nationals and their dependents, embassy staff, and Afghan nationals under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) program.
The UK has committed up to $392 million in humanitarian aid to the region, and last week announced a bespoke resettlement scheme that is set to relocate up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans.
4:53 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
Discussions with Taliban have been focused on Kabul airport operations, State Department says
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday that discussions with the Taliban have been “operational” and “tactical,” “focused largely on our near term operations and our near term goals.”
“Those near term operations and those near term goals in the first instance are focused on what is going at the airport compound at [Hamid Karzai International Airport],” Price said at a press briefing.
He said discussions around those operations “to remove our people, our partners and third country nationals from Afghanistan...have been pretty involved,” but declined to go into details.
Price noted the US has begun “to have conversations about what the international community would want to see of any future government in Afghanistan and to be very clear about what would be unacceptable to us.”
4:39 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
Biden administration must decide if it will extend Afghanistan mission in Kabul by Tuesday, official says
From CNN's Barbara Starr
The Biden administration must decide on Tuesday whether it will try to extend the evacuation mission in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31, according to a defense official directly familiar with the discussions.
The military is advising the White House the decision must be made on Tuesday in order to have enough time to withdraw the 5,800 troops currently on the ground and their equipment and weapons.
If the President agrees, the military anticipates “a few more days” of trying to evacuate as many people as possible before the drawdown of US forces begins, possibly by the end of this week.
"There's discussions going on among us and the military about extending," Biden told reporters Sunday. "Our hope is we will not have to extend, but they are going to be discussions." He said the decision might depend "on how far along we are in the process" of evacuating Americans.
Biden was also asked if G7 leaders — who he is scheduled to meet with Tuesday — ask the US to stay longer, would he comply.
"We'll see what we can do," he said he would tell the leaders.
CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi, Betsy Klein and Nikki Carvajal contributed reporting to this post.
4:17 p.m. ET, August 23, 2021
US air base in Germany reaches capacity with 7,800 evacuees from Afghanistan
From Atika Shubert in Ramstein, Germany and Rob Iddiols
There are currently at least 7,800 evacuees from Afghanistan waiting to depart Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the US, the German Public Affairs Office told CNN on Monday.
Over the last three days, 39 flights have landed at the base from Kabul International Airport.
So far, only one flight — a KC-10 carrying 60 passengers — has left the base for the US, which means the base is now over capacity.
A CNN team at the base has been told there are three commercial flights ready to depart. However, none appear to be leaving soon.
At least 3 babies have been born during Afghanistan evacuation operations, US official says
From CNN's Oren Liebermann and David Gracey
At least three babies have been born during the evacuation from Afghanistan, Gen. Steve Lyons, the commander of US transportation command, told reporters during a press briefing Monday.
One of those babies was born as a C-17 landed at Ramstein Air Base from Doha, Qatar, but Lyons said there were two more, though he offered no details on where or when they were born.
"I really appreciate the news reporting on the baby being born, as that flight came in to Ramstein. As a matter of fact, there's actually been more than that. Just an incredible, incredible operation ongoing, you know, just impressive work by our great airmen," Lyons said.
Reporters, surprised there were more, immediately asked for how many.
"My last data point was three," Lyons said.
It was unclear if the other two babies were specifically born on flights or if they were born on one of the temporary bases where they are being housed, such as Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, Ramstein in Germany, or another base.