Pentagon press secretary John Kirby confirms to CNN that the Department of Defense is aiming to relocate up to 30,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants into the US, a reversal of President Biden's previous assertion that "the law doesn't allow that to happen."
The State Department will identify the individuals for transport, according to Kirby, and the Defense Department will facilitate their transportation to and housing at Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin.
Kirby said DoD is aiming to get several thousand people transported immediately and tens of thousands more to follow, though how the US government will achieve that is unclear.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser told CNN Monday morning there is no plan for US forces to provide safe passage for Americans, locally employed Afghan staff of the US embassy and other Afghan visa applicants from within the city of Kabul to the airport.
Finer said the US has made clear to the Taliban “in no uncertain terms” not to interfere with Afghans who are attempting to get to the Kabul airport for potential evacuation, however those Afghans should wait until they are told it is time for their evacuation before going to the airport.
“We are asking people in an orderly way, when their flight is called. And again this is not going to be just a free for all. It can't be for security reasons work that way. When people's flights are timed, we are asking them to show up at the airport to be present to get on those flights. Not just whoever happens to come to the airport,” Finer said.
“Right now we have our hands full at the airport. I know of no ability to help secure safe passage to airport” at this time, a senior Pentagon official told CNN.
Reversing a Biden administration plan to prioritize Americans trying to leave Kabul, Kirby said the plan is to now evacuate "a mix" of Afghans and Americans.