Washington, Aug 22 (AP) Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the US military is exploring new ways to bring Americans and others to Kabul airport to evacuate them in view of potential threats in Afghanistan. At the same time, the US Defense Department Pentagon said on Sunday that it is formally seeking assistance from six commercial airlines to repatriate people evacuated from Afghanistan. Austin said on ABC’s “This Week” program that the deadline given by the US President regarding the evacuation of people from Afghanistan is close to August 31.
Austin said on ABC’s “This Week” program that as the US president’s deadline of August 31 to evacuate people from Afghanistan approaches, he will recommend an extension. There are still several thousand American citizens and others yet to be evacuated from Afghanistan.
The US embassy on Saturday issued a new security warning asking citizens not to enter Kabul airport gates without “personal instructions from a representative of the US government” due to security threats.
Officials declined to elaborate on the IS threat, but said the threat was huge. He said no IS attack has been confirmed so far.
Austin’s interview was broadcast by ABC on Sunday.
During this, Austin said, “We are doing everything we can to get everyone, every American citizen who wants to leave Afghanistan.” We think we’ll have to continue looking for new ways to get out and contact US citizens so that they can be brought to the airport safely.”
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has started the initial phase of the “Civil Reserve Air Fleet” program, which has called for 18 aircraft. Of these, three aircraft have been sought from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Airline and Omni Air, two from Hawaiian Airlines and five from United Airlines.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said commercial flights were not expected to have a major impact if the plane was made available to the department. According to Kirby, these aircraft will not take off at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
He said the planes would be used to transport passengers to other stations after leaving Kabul, allowing the US military to focus on the evacuation of people from the Afghan side.
AP Shafiq Netrapal