U.S. politics and policy updates
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The Pentagon has stated that as the Biden administration races to restore confidence in its terrible evacuation, it will house as many as tens of thousands of Afghan immigrants at US military bases.
After Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the use at the request of the U.S. State Department, as many as 22,000 Afghan immigrants will be placed in Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, and Lee, Virginia. In the military housing of the fort.
The decision announced on Wednesday was made after the chaos and violence at Kabul International Airport earlier this week, as the United States was criticized for not evacuating Afghans assisting American troops more quickly.
U.S. officials re-established security measures at the airport on Tuesday and said they will speed up the pace of evacuation in the coming days.
On Wednesday morning, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that 2,000 people had been evacuated from Kabul in the past 24 hours. Approximately 300 of them are American citizens. He added that the scale of evacuation could reach between 5,000 and 9,000 people per day.
So far, at least five Afghans have been killed at the airport, some of them trying to catch the outside of a U.S. Air Force C-17 military cargo plane trying to take off.
Videos on social media seem to show that two figures fell from the plane after the plane took off. Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said on Tuesday that after the plane landed at Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar, “human remains” were found in the wheel well of the aircraft.
On Wednesday, Kirby said that the US military had fired several shots near the gates around the airport, but the purpose of these shots was as a “non-lethal crowd control measure.” He declined to comment on whether the bullets were rubber bullets or live ammunition.
Kirby confirmed that the Afghan military has been taking off military aircraft from Kabul Airport, but declined to confirm the number of aircraft that are about to leave.
He added that as part of a broader drawdown, some US military equipment has been withdrawn from Afghanistan and returned to the United States, some have been destroyed, and some have been transferred to the Afghan army.
“We obviously don’t want to see our equipment fall into the hands of those who are against our interests or the interests of the Afghan people,” Kirby said.