“The safety and security of American citizens [and] allies is absolutely our top priority,” Major General Hank Taylor said.
The United States has been trying to bring Americans and allies out of Afghanistan but is hitting road blocks. After an eight-hour pause on Friday, the Pentagon says flights are back on track.
“The airport remains secure. Evacuation flights are steadily increasing,” Major General Taylor said.
Three thousands have been evacuated in the last 24 hours with a total of 18,000 people moved outside the region since the end of July.
Rescuing people outside the airport is proving to be a challenge, with troops stationed inside the walls. Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby didn’t say when that will change.
“I’m not going to speculate one way or another about future operations,” Kirby said. “The main focus is on security at the airport.”
During a news conference on Friday, Kirby avoided answering questions about 169 evacuees that U.S. troops did rescue outside the airport. He would only say he’d get back with reporters with exact details of what happened.
In a call with House lawmakers on Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said they were receiving reports of Americans being beaten by the Taliban in Kabul. Kirby did not deny the reports.
“We’re certainly mindful of these reports and they’re deeply troubling and we have communicated to the Taliban that that is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
So far, the U.S. has not taken any military action against the Taliban, or said if they would need their approval to move outside of the perimeter.