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US flight operation resumed after seven-hour hiatus at Kabul airport: Pentagon

US flight operation resumed after seven-hour hiatus at Kabul airport: Pentagon
August 21, 2021 Web Desk

KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US flight operation was resumed after a seven-hour hiatus at the Kabul airport, said Pentagon spokesman on Saturday.

He said that the US had no place to accommodate people in Qatar. "A hotel has been used near the Kabul airport to evacuate the Americans," he added.

On the other hand, the Taliban have denied the reports regarding stopping the people from leaving the Kabul airport.

Chaos around the Kabul airport was so bad this week that the US military was forced to use three helicopters to transport 169 Americans into the complex from a building just 200 meters (656 feet) away, the Pentagon said on Friday.

As Western nations struggled to ramp up the pace of evacuations from Afghanistan amid the chaos and reports of Taliban violence, US President Joe Biden confronted criticism about his administration's planning for the withdrawal of US troops and the Islamic militants' swift takeover of the country.

"I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies," Biden told reporters after making a speech from the White House. "... As a matter of fact, the exact opposite I've got ... we're acting with dispatch, we're acting, committing to what we said we would do."

Thousands of desperate Afghans clutching papers, children and some belongings thronged Kabul airport where gun-toting Taliban members urged those without travel documents to go home. In and around the airport, at least 12 people have been killed since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

US evacuation flights from Kabul's airport stopped for more than six hours on Friday while U.S. authorities looked for countries willing to accept people fleeing Afghanistan. They did resume later in the day.

In his remarks, Biden referred to the 169 Americans transported by the military. Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby later said the decision was made to use the helicopters on Thursday because the group was unable to get to the gate from a nearby hotel to the airport.

"The plan was simply (for them) to walk through the gate, but there was a large crowd established outside the Abbey gate, a crowd that not everybody had confidence in, in terms of their ability to walk through and so local commanders on the scene took the initiative and flew these helicopters out there to pick them up," Kirby said.