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Biden Admin Orders Commercial Airlines To Help With Afghanistan Evacuation Effort

Biden Admin Orders Commercial Airlines To Help With Afghanistan Evacuation Effort

 American Airlines planes at a gate of Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. Citing a surge in unruly passengers, U.S. aviation regulators are calling on the nation's airports to encourage the police to arrest offenders, and to prevent people from sneaking alcohol on board.

The Biden administration’s Department of Defense ordered several commercial airline companies on Sunday morning to help with the Afghanistan pull-out, an effort that has thus far been hampered by the Taliban’s swift takeover of the capital city of Kabul.

Civilian commercial airliners will not be ordered to go into Afghanistan. Rather, the airplanes will be used to transport people who have already been evacuated out of the country — and are currently in “temporary safe havens” or “interim staging bases” — and take them to other places. According to The Washington Post, the interim locations to which the civilian airplanes will travel are likely nations near Afghanistan, such as Qatar and the UAE.

Captain John Perkins, a public affairs officer at U.S. Transportation Command, told The New York Times on Sunday that the civilian airliners would begin taking people to Europe from evacuation sites beginning early this week. From Europe, some Afghans will continue on to the United States. Each airplane will be capable of carrying several hundred passengers.

Over the last week, U.S. troops have been evacuating Americans and Afghan allies from the Hamid Karzai International Airport, the sole area of U.S. control in the Taliban-controlled capital. While President Joe Biden denied Friday that any Americans were having trouble getting to the airport, Austin offered an apparent contradiction to this statement in a Friday call with lawmakers, reports Politico. Austin told them that some Americans had been beaten by members of the Taliban.

On Saturday, the U.S. embassy issued a security alert “advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so.”

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