Report: Joe Biden Waiving Coronavirus Test Requirements for Evacuees at Kabul Airport

Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)
WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Friday is reportedly waiving coronavirus test requirements for potentially infected evacuees in Afghanistan, a “hotspot” for the Chinese coronavirus.

“Although Afghanistan had been a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, the State Department said Thursday that evacuees are not required to get negative COVID-19 results,” the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“A blanket humanitarian waiver has been implemented for COVID-19 testing for all persons the U.S. government is relocating from Afghanistan,” the State Department said. “Medical exams, including COVID-19 tests, had been required for evacuees prior to the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, which added extra urgency to efforts to get at-risk Afghans out.”

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday the military has the capacity to remove 5,000 to 9,000 per day but has only evacuated about 2,000 passengers “each of the past two days.” Only 1,762 American citizens and Green Card holders have been saved from the country since August 14.

“I don’t know,” Kirby answered a reporter who asked how many “American citizens” are stranded in Afghanistan. Though the White House claimed Tuesday the number of “self-identified” Americans in the country is about 11,000, they said Friday the number is unknown:

The Pentagon also does not know the number of Americans in the country.

Tuesday’s media reports revealed 10,000 to 40,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan. The AP reported Friday up to 15,000 were trapped. As America struggles to identify how many Americans are in the country, Russia has offered to evacuate Afghans, while the French are running operations to rescue foreign nationals in Kabul outside their embassy.

Biden is grappling on Friday to evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan before the August 31 deadline. Extending the deadline would necessitate the “Taliban’s acquiescence.”

To secure the evacuation operation, Biden has sent to the airport Marines and the Air Force who specialize in evacuation coordination. Nearly 6,000 American troops are protecting the Kabul airport, while the State Department evacuates those trapped amid the chaos and increased brutalization by the Taliban within the country.

The New York Times reported Thursday, Taliban terrorists have intensified their searches for people “they believe worked with U.S. and NATO forces, including among the crowds of Afghans at Kabul’s airport.” The Taliban have explained they will “kill or arrest their family members if they cannot find them.” Other reports claim the Taliban are killing those who helped America by hanging them.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø 

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