Pelosi rebukes congressmen; evacuations hit 88Ok

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According to the White House, about 19,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan by US and Allied forces on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the U.S. is on track to evacuate all American and Allied citizens, as well as Afghans who are granted special immigrant visas or are otherwise at risk of persecution by the Taliban, by August 31.

“The sooner we finish, the better. Every day of action poses an additional risk for our troops, ”said the President.

To meet the August 31 deadline, US forces must stop evacuating people from the airport days before their final troop withdrawal, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Tuesday. This means that the window for the evacuation of refugees and others is even closer than the official end of the American presence on the ground.

Biden has a cabinet meeting on his schedule for 2 p.m. where he may have remarks on the situation in Afghanistan but no other public events or remarks are planned.

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Pentagon: 20 Americans saved while evacuation efforts continue

Pentagon officials further detailed the evacuation effort on Wednesday. About 19,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan by US and Allied military planes and charter flights in the past 24 hours, it said.

There were about 4,400 American citizens on those flights, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. About 4,000 US citizens were evacuated Tuesday. Kirby had no estimate of the number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan before the end of the August 31 evacuation flights.

Overnight, U.S. forces conducted an operation to rescue U.S. citizens and get them to the airport, Army Major General William Taylor, director of regional operations for the Joint Staff, said. About 20 Americans were rescued by helicopter, the third such rescue since the evacuation began, Kirby said.

The unscheduled visit by two congressmen required the U.S. armed forces to take time off their duties to protect lawmakers, Kirby said.

– Tom Vanden Brook

At the request of the USA, Uganda accepts 51 Afghans

KAMPALA, Uganda – The Ugandan government announced that 51 people evacuated from Afghanistan arrived in the east African country on Wednesday at the request of the United States.

Authorities said in a statement that the group transported on a charter flight included men, women and children.

Uganda’s officials said last week the country would take in up to 2,000 people fleeing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. They said the Afghans would be temporarily brought to Uganda in small groups before being relocated.

“The decision to take in those in need is justified by the consistent policy of the Ugandan government to take in refugees and people in need and to play a responsible role in matters of international importance,” the statement said.

Uganda’s officials have repeatedly said that the United States would pay for the care of people evacuated from Afghanistan, and groups like Mercy Corps are offering their help.

The US-based humanitarian group said it would assist the Ugandan authorities in responding to “the most pressing needs” of the evacuees.

Uganda has long been an ally of the US, particularly on security issues in the region.

However, some activists and opponents of President Yoweri Museveni, who was re-elected in January, say the US deal with Uganda is problematic because it appears blind to allegations of rights violations and bad governance in a country that has never seen a peaceful transfer of power.

– Associated press

Pelosi warns Moulton, Meijer about a trip to Kabul

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi reprimanded two congressmen who said Tuesday they had traveled to Kabul on a secret trip to investigate the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“There is a real concern that members are in the area … The resources required to facilitate their visit and protect them were an opportunity cost of what we had to do to reach as many people as possible evacuate that they are going to Afghanistan, going to the region, because our resources diplomatically, politically and militarily are also required in the rest of the region. So this is dead serious, “she said at a press conference on Wednesday morning.

“We don’t want the members to leave … It wasn’t a good idea (for the two members to leave) in my opinion.”

Pelosi added that she did not speak to Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., And Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich.

On Tuesday, the speaker addressed a letter to her house colleagues about trips to Afghanistan.

“Given the urgency of this situation, the desire of some MPs to travel to Afghanistan and the surrounding areas is understandable and reflects the high priority we attach to the lives of the local people,” wrote Pelosi. “However, I am writing to reiterate that the Defense and State Ministries have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger.”

She advises that briefings and calls will continue to be organized to keep members informed.

– Ledyard King

More:Soccer players leave Afghanistan on an evacuation flight

Congressmen visit Afghanistan

Amid US and allied evacuation efforts, two congressmen criticized their unannounced visit to Kabul airport.

Officials said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., And Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., Flew in on a charter plane and spent several hours on the floor of Kabul airport.

“As congressmen, we have a duty to oversee the executive branch,” the two said in their statement. “We carried out this visit in secret and only discussed it after we left, in order to minimize the risk and disturbance for the local people and because we were there to gather information, not to take the stands.”

Continue reading:Two members of Congress fly to Kabul amid evacuations, stun foreign ministry and military officials

How many American citizens are in Afghanistan?

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to provide an update on Afghanistan on Wednesday. This briefing should contain a number about how many US citizens are staying in Afghanistan.

The Biden government has not yet offered a fixed count. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS Evening News on Thursday that the US did not have an exact number because of the persecution of citizens in Afghanistan.

Updated evacuation numbers

The latest round of evacuation has brought 82,300 people from Hamid Karzai International Airport and 87,900 people evacuated since the end of July, the White House said, since August 14, when the Taliban first took control of the capital Kabul.

Tuesday’s operation included 42 U.S. military flights that took around 11,200 people out of the country, as well as another 48 flights by US coalition allies that took around 7,800 people out of Kabul.

The Biden administration has repeatedly stressed that the withdrawal operation is well on the way to becoming the largest US air evacuation in history. “There is no other country in the world that could pull off something like this, except none,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in a press conference on Monday.

However, the government is also facing fierce bipartisan criticism from members of Congress and the national security community who view the chaotic scenes of the withdrawal as catastrophic and avoidable. It is also unclear how many Americans and eligible Afghans remain in the country.

– Matthew Brown

China is building relationships with the Taliban

BEIJING – China has established “open and effective communication and consultation with the Afghan Taliban” after a meeting between representatives of the group and Beijing’s ambassador in Kabul.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin did not provide information about the meeting between Taliban Political Bureau Deputy Head Abdul Salam Hanafi and Ambassador Wang Yu on Tuesday.

However, China sees Kabul as “an important platform and channel for both sides to discuss important matters of all kinds”.

Who is who:Who and what should be known when Afghanistan approaches a new government?

China last month invited a delegation led by senior Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar for talks before the group quickly came to power in Kabul.

China has opened its embassy in the city, saying it has no plans for a full evacuation of its citizens in Afghanistan, while relentlessly criticizing the US for the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport.

“We have always respected Afghanistan’s sovereign independence and territorial integrity, pursued a policy of non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and adhered to a policy of friendship towards the entire Afghan people,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

“China respects the independent decision of the Afghan people about their own future and fate, supports the implementation of the Afghan-led and Afghan principle, and stands ready to continue to build good neighborly relations of friendship and cooperation with Afghanistan and play a constructive role for peace and rebuilding the country, ”said Wang.

– Associated press