The US government has advised commercial airlines in the country that they may be required to help transport evacuees from Afghanistan.
An alert was sent to businesses on Friday (20). The decision has not yet been formalized, but US authorities confirmed the information to Reuters news agency on Saturday (21) after it was published by the Wall Street Journal.
Civilian planes would not fly to Afghanistan, but instead carry people evacuated from Kabul by the United States, then hosted at air bases in the Middle East and in European countries like Germany.
According to the WSJ, the White House plans to activate the so-called civilian reserve air fleet, created in 1952, in the wake of the Berlin airlift after World War II. Under it, the government would have 20 commercial jets, from up to five airlines, to help save the Afghans.
Another alternative to streamlining rescue efforts would be to expand U.S. bases in the region, officials told the newspaper – a move that could increase the use of civilian airlines or avoid the need for them. These bases are increasingly occupied by Afghan refugees and can become overcrowded.
The gigantic operation to evacuate people from Kabul, classified by US President Joe Biden as “one of the most difficult in history”, mobilized planes from around the world for a week to rescue thousands of people trapped in the airport of the Afghan capital.
About 6,000 armed US military personnel control the capital’s airport, while the Taliban patrol the surrounding streets, preventing many Afghans from reaching the congested terminal.
The United States, which planned to evacuate more than 30,000 people, including American citizens and Afghan civilians who have helped forces use their bases in Kuwait and Qatar, has evacuated more than 13,000 people since August 14. .
Biden said, however, that he could not guarantee the end result of this operation.
The United States on Friday announced an agreement with 12 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia to help evacuate Americans and Afghans from Kabul, taking flights and providing temporary accommodation for those people.
Germany, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Denmark, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Qatar, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan are already receiving or will receive Americans and Afghans evacuated by the US in transit.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also announced that 13 countries, including Chile, Colombia and Mexico, have agreed to host refugees evacuated across the country.
Although thousands of people have already managed to leave, charges are being brought against the Taliban for harassing Afghans who worked for NATO and for restricting access to the airport.