US speeds up operations in Afghanistan, evacuates nearly 16,000 people in 24 hours | World

Nearly 16,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by Kabul airport in the last 24 hours, the Pentagon announced on Monday (23).

The deadline for the withdrawal of Americans from the country, set by President Joe Biden, expires on August 31, which causes the acceleration of operations.

The latest withdrawals bring the number of people transferred from Afghanistan to 42,000 since July, 37,000 after the intensification of air operations on Aug. 14, the eve of the Taliban takeover of Kabul, said Defense Ministry spokesman John Kirby.

Throughout Sunday and Monday morning, 61 military and civilian planes from different countries took off from the airport in the Afghan capital, said General Hank Taylor of the US General Staff. Among the 16,000 evacuations, 11,000 were carried out in military aircraft, according to the general.

This includes “a few thousand” US citizens, thousands of Afghans who cooperated with the United States who had applied for or received an immigration visa, and also Afghans who fear Taliban reprisals for having worked for NGOs, media and other jobs not approved by Islamists, Kirby said.

The Defense Ministry spokesman declined to say the exact number of Americans evacuated from the country.

He stressed that the aim was to withdraw all US forces from Kabul by Aug. 31, the date set by Biden for the departure of troops from Afghanistan, despite objections from NATO allies, who fear the airlift will be suspended before the end. of the month to allow the evacuation of the 5,800 US soldiers deployed at the airport to ensure the civilian transfer operation.

Kirby has not ruled out an extension of the deadline. For the United States, “the objective is to remove as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” he said. “The goal is to try to do as much as possible by the end of the month.”

human rights violations

While operations to withdraw US troops continue, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OCI) on Monday deposited at the UN a draft resolution calling for an investigation into human rights violations in Afghanistan.

The text will be debated on Tuesday (24) at the extraordinary session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), organized at the request of Pakistan, which coordinates the OCI on human rights and humanitarian issues, and Afghanistan, with the support of dozens of countries, including France and the United States.

“Our collective and individual objective must be to prevent the loss of innocent lives, to provide humanitarian aid to those in need and to accelerate the process of reconciliation and political regulation,” Pakistan’s representative ambassador, Khalil Hashmi, declared on Monday. during the session organizing meeting.

The HRC organizes three ordinary sessions a year, but if a third of the member states make a demand, it can decide to hold an extraordinary session.

Videos: Stories and accounts of the chaos in Afghanistan