The Pentagon says the U.S. military is ramping up evacuations out of Afghanistan, and that 7,000 civilians have been taken out of the country since August 14. Army Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters that 12 C-17 aircraft departed with 2,000 evacuees over the past 24 hours. Speaking at a Pentagon briefing today, Taylor said the military now has enough aircraft to get 5,000-9,000 people out a day, depending on how many have been processed and other factors, such as weather. There are now about 5,200 U.S. troops at the airport, a number that has been steadily increasing in recent days. When ABC News' Luis Martinez pressed Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby on whether there's been progress getting people access to the airport: "We have seen by opening up another gate, by adding consular officers now, we believe that we will soon begin to see an opening up of the aperture, and we're hopeful that that means more consistent increase in the flow ...but I want to be careful before I make predictions," Kirby replied.
August 19, 2021