At least 5400 American citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan, the Pentagon said at a news conference on Saturday, as President Joseph R. Biden Jr. gradually puts an end to a 20-year-long war that has left more than 241,000 people dead and consumed trillions of dollars.
In all, since August 14, the U.S. has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of approximately 111,900 people from Afghanistan, bringing the total figure to nearly 117,500 people who have been evacuated since the end of July.
Major General Hank Taylor, Deputy Director of the Joint Staff For Regional Operations, told a news conference that over the past 24 hours, nearly 6,800 people were evacuated from Afghanistan on 32 U.S. military flights and 34 coalition flights.
“From August 27 at 3:00 AM EDT to August 28 at 3:00 AM EDT, a total of approximately 6,800 people were evacuated from Kabul. This is the result of 32 US military flights (27 C-17s and 5 C-130s) which carried approximately 4,000 evacuees, and 34 coalition flights which carried 2,800 people,” a White House official said in an earlier statement.
Major General Hank Taylor also said the drone strike the U.S. military launched in Afghanistan on Friday killed two high profile ISIS-K targets and wounded another one.
The strike, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said, was both a retaliation to the deadly suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday and part of the U.S. ongoing war on terror.
The suicide bombing on Thursday outside the Abbey gate at Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members and close to 200 Afghan civilians. many people were also injured, including about 18 U.S. service members.
After a 20-year-long war, President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who was meeting with his national security team at the White House on Saturday, has decided that all American troops would be leaving Afghanistan on August 31.
At its news briefing on Saturday, Pentagon acknowledged that it has begun reducing forces on the ground, and most of the remaining diplomats there would be leaving in the next 24 hours.