United States extends Afghan withdrawal to countries in Europe and Middle East – 8/20/2021 – Worldwide

Countries in Europe and the Middle East have agreed to help the United States provide temporary accommodation for those evacuated from Afghanistan. The information was confirmed to Reuters on Friday (20) by US officials, who said the country’s base in Qatar had reached full capacity.

The United States is organizing the withdrawal of thousands of people from Kabul as reports of Taliban retaliation against Afghans who have worked with American forces mount. The Islamic fundamentalist group returned to power last weekend, forcing Western countries to repatriate their citizens.

This Friday, however, according to the Americans, several evacuation flights could not take off from Kabul for several hours because they had nowhere to lodge the refugees. Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which belongs to the US Central Command, already houses 8,000 Afghan expatriates.

More than 18,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan by air since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, according to NATO (Western Military Alliance).

People familiar with the situation in Al Udeid have reported deteriorating conditions at the base, with Afghan refugees crammed into a hangar with no air conditioning, few bathrooms, and food and water shortages, a scenario that would raise concerns. concerns about what have been called “problems”. . “logistics imminent”.

Speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, US officials told Reuters that the State Department’s announcement of new destinations, which has yet to be officially made, could include places like Bahrain, but that flights will likely be to the west and south of the country. for their easier logistics.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, 54, said in a statement that the country had agreed to temporarily house people at Ramstein Air Base. However, it was not clear which other European countries would be involved in the business.

The US State Department declined to comment, but said in a statement it was “indebted to all partners who play a role in this campaign.”

Washington is mobilizing its efforts to get people out before August 31, the deadline for the country’s forces to leave Afghanistan. President Joe Biden, 78, washed his hands earlier this week of the situation in the country and later admitted that troops providing evacuation security could stay longer if necessary. This Friday, he said he cannot guarantee the end result of the withdrawal.

One of the main obstacles for people wishing to leave Afghanistan remains the journey to Kabul airport. The United States has so far failed to guarantee safe passage even for American citizens. While claiming that they have received assurances from the Taliban that they will not prevent people from reaching the airfield, local reports suggest otherwise.

Amid the confusion at and around the airport, at least 12 people have been killed since Sunday (15), according to officials from NATO and the fundamentalist religious movement itself.

Additional reporting by Jonathan Landay; Edited by Jonathan Oatis, Marguerita Choy and Daniel Wallis

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