US takes control of Kabul airport to expedite evacuation process
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US takes control of Kabul airport to expedite evacuation process

16 Aug 2021 (Last Updated August 16th, 2021 18:53)

Scheduled flights from the Kabul airport are suspended leaving foreign nationals and Afghans stranded at the airport.

US takes control of Kabul airport to expedite evacuation process
Kabul International Airport Air Traffic Control tower. Credit: ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office from Kabul, Afghanistan/ commons.wikimedia.org.

The US has taken over air traffic control at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, to ensure the safe departure of its staff from the country.

The move comes after the Taliban claimed victory in a protracted civil war after gaining control over the capital city.

In a joint statement, the US Department of State and Department of Defense said that it will deploy 6,000 troops particularly to facilitate the evacuation process of US and allied personnel via civilian and military flights.

The statement said: “Tomorrow and over the coming days, we will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens who have been resident in Afghanistan, as well as locally employed staff of the US mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.

“And we will accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for US Special Immigrant Visas, nearly 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the US over the past two weeks. For all categories, Afghans who have cleared security screening will continue to be transferred directly to the US.”

Separately, the BBC reported that scheduled flights from the airport are suspended, leaving foreign nationals and Afghans stranded at the airport.

However, it is reported that military aircraft of various countries were permitted to land at the airport to evacuate their staff and families.

News reports show that thousands of people flocked to the airport to leave the country after the Taliban seized control of the city.

Reuters reported that at least five people were killed at the airport in the ensuing chaos. It is not immediately clear if the people lost their lives due to a stampede or gunfire.