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The United States evacuated 3,000 people from Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, bringing to 9,000 the number of individuals it has managed to remove from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, a senior White House official said early Friday.
On Thursday, 3,000 people were able to leave Kabul airport aboard 16 C-17 military aircraft, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
Of those 3,000 evacuees, only about 350 were U.S. citizens and the rest were family members of U.S. citizens, Afghan collaborators and their families, as well as “vulnerable” Afghans.
The number, however, could be higher because 11 charter flights have also left Afghanistan in the past 24 hours. Passengers on those flights have not yet been accounted for.
The Pentagon has said it intends to evacuate between 5,000 and 9,000 people daily through Kabul airport but has so far failed to achieve that goal.
The Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15 after their fighters entered the capital without meeting resistance, with almost all the provinces under their control, and following the fleeing of the hitherto Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.
It was a day earlier, on August 14, that Washington accelerated the evacuation efforts.
Despite the delays, the White House official revealed today that since the end of July, the U.S. has managed to move 14,000 people out of Afghanistan.