The State Department and Department of Defense said in a statement Sunday that there are “thousands” of Americans stranded in Afghanistan after the Taliban declared victory over the U.S.-backed government earlier in the day.
“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 U.S. mission in Kabul and their families and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals,” they said in the statement.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden remained at Camp David, where he departed for vacation last Thursday. Since then, he has not publicly addressed the nation on what has unfolded in Afghanistan.
The administration has rushed in 3,000 forces over the weekend to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan, as the Taliban continued its rapid offensive across Afghanistan and headed towards the capital of Kabul.
On Saturday, it rushed in 1,000 more and then, on Sunday, an additional 1,000 — as the Taliban entered Kabul and moved into the presidential palace.
Meanwhile, scenes of chaos unfolded at the airport as hundreds of Afghans and their families jockeyed for a place aboard evacuating aircraft, according to videos posted on social media.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul sent a security alert earlier in the day that said the airport was “taking fire” and Americans were advised to “shelter in place.”
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement to Breitbart News on Sunday that the DOD continues to monitor the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
“We remain focused on the mission assigned to us: to facilitate the safe drawdown of civilian personnel from the U.S. Embassy and out of the country and to protect operations at the airport to support this drawdown and other evacuation flights. That is what Secretary Austin made clear to our commanders throughout the day,” he said.
“We are continuing to refine our processes and organization at the airport, including pre-staging people for movement, while improving our defenses,” he added.
He said U.S. forces have now assumed responsibilities for air traffic control at the airport, supported by Afghan counterparts, and that commercial traffic continues, although with some sporadic stoppages and delays.
He said several hundred civilians, including personnel and private U.S. citizens, have been evacuated so far.
“We continue to build capacity to expedite processing for at-risk Afghan civilians. We are especially grateful for Canada’s generous offer to host 20,000 Afghans at-risk,” he said.
“As we have made clear, this is a narrowly-defined mission to safeguard the movement of civilians out of Kabul. Any threat posed to the mission will be taken seriously—and any attack on our people or on our operation will be met forcefully,” he added.
As the evacuation continued, the sister of the last American hostage in Afghanistan pleaded for the U.S. to remember her brother.
“Please remember that my brother, Mark Frerichs, is a hostage of the Taliban. We want all US troops home safely, but my brother should be able to come home too,” said Charlene Cakora, sister of Mark Frerichs, according to a tweet by PBS Newshour journalist Amna Nawaz.
"Please remember that my brother, Mark Frerichs, is a hostage of the Taliban. We want all US troops home safely, but my brother should be able to come home too."
-Charlene Cakora, sister of Mark Frerichs, the last American hostage in Afghanistan.
— amna (@IAmAmnaNawaz) August 15, 2021