CIA agents and US soldiers are conducting the operation outside Kabul airport, the Wall Street Journal reported. Secret missions aim to evacuate US citizens and endangered Afghans. According to the New York Times, due to the slow pace of evacuation, there will be around 250,000 Afghans left in Afghanistan who could be taken from the country.
Since mid-August, the evacuation of diplomats and foreign citizens, as well as Afghans who have cooperated with Western troops in recent years, has been carried out from the international airport. Meanwhile, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, American helicopters are operating in Kabul and taking people authorized to evacuate from designated locations to the airport in that city. In these actions, US forces are supported by British and French troops.
Secret CIA operations, however, also take place outside of Kabul itself, and military helicopters also take part in these activities, “WSJ” wrote.
Due to the situation in Afghanistan, after the Taliban took over the country, the missions of the CIA and US troops are considered dangerous. The Pentagon said it was working with the Taliban to ensure security in and around the airport, but it is not known whether the topic of evacuation operations outside the airport is being discussed during these talks, the New York daily noted.
“NYT”: Afghanistan will not be able to evacuate all associates
According to the New York Times, at least 250,000 Afghans who may be eligible for US visas will have to stay in Afghanistan. The evacuation is proceeding too slowly and will end too quickly, according to the newspaper, for US forces to remove them from the country. Even if US forces continued their evacuation at the current pace, transporting around 20,000 people a day from Kabul, before August 31, the deadline for US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, it will not be possible to remove all who the newspaper estimates may be eligible for evacuation.
Afghans who have worked for the US government, US armed forces or NGOs and their families are eligible for US visas. It is difficult to determine the size of this group, according to various calculations, there may be from 100,000 to 300,000 Afghans entitled to leave, the daily informed. Many of these people fear revenge by the Taliban and are very desperate to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, the NYT wrote.
On Wednesday, the White House reported that 82,300 people had been evacuated from the country since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, including citizens of the US, Afghanistan and other countries. There is also a wider group of people who do not qualify for quick US visas but feel threatened by the Taliban because they are members of a religious minority or have collaborated with the Afghan government or the military, the newspaper noted. There could be millions of Afghans in this situation, as White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
NATO chief: we must analyze the mistakes made in Afghanistan
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the North Atlantic Alliance “must analyze the mistakes” made in Afghanistan. NATO “must be able to submit to criticism,” he said in an interview with the Italian “Il Sole-24 Ore”.
According to him, the current situation in Afghanistan is “a tragedy for the nation”. “It is terrible that the social progress achieved in recent years is under threat,” he admitted. “We could have waited longer after 20 years of investing in the Afghan military,” said Stoltenberg. In his opinion, the country’s military lacks “both political and military” leadership.
NATO, as pointed out by the Secretary General, has enabled Afghanistan’s “important social development”. “In the last 20 years, we have managed to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe harbor for international terrorism,” Stoltenberg pointed out.
“Regardless of what happens in this country, North America and Europe must remain united, because we are facing a change in the balance of power at the global level due to Russia’s more aggressive policy and China’s development,” he stressed. He expressed the conviction that NATO “remains a very strong alliance”.
Noting that there were voices about the need to create an EU military, he replied that “to think that Europe could defend itself without the United States or NATO is wrong.” “The European Union will never be able to defend Europe,” believes the head of the Alliance, and cited financial and geographical reasons as the reason. “Any attempt to loosen the transatlantic ties would not only weaken NATO, but would also divide Europe itself,” warned Stoltenberg.
Main photo source: Staff Sgt. Victor A. Mancill / US Marine Corps via DVIDS / EPA / PAP