Scenes of chaos have emerged this week from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where thousands of people have been attempting to flee Afghanistan following the recent Taliban takeover and the collapse of the government. U.S. officials say they are racing to evacuate as many people from the country as possible before the end of the month, when American troops are scheduled to withdraw after two decades of occupation.
President Biden said Friday that 13,000 people, including Americans and Afghans who have applied for so-called special immigrant visas or SIVs, have been evacuated from Kabul since Aug. 14, and approximately 18,000 total have been removed from the country since late July.
After hastening the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan this month, the Biden administration was forced to ramp up the U.S. military presence in Kabul over the last few days in an effort to expedite the evacuation process before the final pullout.
As of Friday, Taylor said there were now 5,800 total troops on the ground with the capacity evacuate between 5,000 and 9,000 people out of Kabul per day. The exact number, however, depends on how many eligible people are able to make it onto the airfield, he said.
The U.S. evacuation efforts are reliant on cooperation from the Taliban, who, officials have said, are facilitating safe passage to the airport for American citizens. However, there have been many reports that Afghan citizens seeking to evacuate have encountered harassment and violence from Taliban forces.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued an alert Wednesday to people in the Afghan capital, saying it “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport.
President Biden has promised not to leave any American citizens behind in Afghanistan, and said Wednesday that could mean keeping troops in the country past his self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31. It remains unclear how many vulnerable Afghans, including thousands of translators and others who worked for the U.S. government, will make it to safety before U.S. troops pull out of the country for good.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries visits the Worcestershire Medal Service in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, where the Queen's Platinum Jubilee medal is being struck ahead of next year's celebrations. The medal will be awarded to serving frontline staff with five years' service, including police, fire, paramedic and prison staff and armed forces personnel. Exclusive footage of the previously unseen medal and interviews with Nadine Dorries and Worcestershire Medal Service chief executive Phil McDermott.
Intensifying volcanic explosions on the Spanish island of La Palma forced firefighters to retreat and authorities to evacuate three more towns on Friday, while airlines cancelled flights due to a cloud of gas and ash, the biggest since the volcano erupted. Firefighters pulled out of clean-up work in the town of Todoque on Friday afternoon as a new vent opened up in the flank of the volcano and videos shared on social media showed a massive shockwave emanating from the eruption site.A Reuters wit
Powerful owls are gentle giants stalking our suburbs, but they are also on the edge. These are massive, charismatic birds with an exhibitionistic streak who have increasingly moved to the city with their natural habitat under pressure . The Guardian/ BirdLife Australia 2021 bird of the year poll begins on Monday
Climate funding target for poorer countries ‘likely to be met’ by 2022Rich states missed $100bn target in 2020 but recent pledges by US, EU and China have lifted prospects, says economist China has pledged to stop financing coal-fired power plants abroad – although Stern said it was also important for the country to ‘start reducing coal strongly at home’. Photograph: Li Bin/EPA