- Title: 'Significantly expanded' processing at Kabul -State Dept
- Date: 19th August 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (AUGUST 19, 2021) (STATE TV) STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NED PRICE ENTERING BRIEFING WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, NED PRICE, SAYING: "We're continuing to rapidly deploy additional consular officers to ensure we can welcome Americans and others and will continue to do so over the coming days. The Department is sending consular staffing teams to Qatar and Kuwait to assist with the transit effort, and we're preparing teams to surge to other processing locations as well. Additional consular officers have also now landed in Kabul, and we will nearly double the number of consular officers on the ground by tomorrow." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, NED PRICE, SAYING: "Twelve C-17s departed within the last twenty four hours with more than two thousand passengers who arrived at safe havens. Since August 14th, we've airlifted seven thousand total evacuees. I can also confirm there are six thousand people at the airport right now who've been fully processed by our consular team and will soon board planes. Overnight we significantly expanded how many American citizens, locally employed staff, SIV applicants and other vulnerable Afghans who are eligible for departure. And we offered them to consider transit to the airport." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN, NED PRICE, SAYING: "So what I can say, and I'm seeing the same reports on Twitter that you are, in every report of someone unable for whatever reason to reach the airport is something we take very seriously. Our imperative is to relocate as many people as quickly as we can. And we've seen the reports of congestion. My understanding is that things are moving quite efficiently at this hour at the airport, at the airport now. But every report we see of someone unable to reach the airport is of concern. We are doing everything we can mechanically, logistically. But then, of course, there's also the diplomatic element to this as well. We are making very clear -- we are making very clear together with our international partners, more than 100 countries have come together, the G7 mentioned this today as well, that safe passage should be guaranteed for all of those who wish to transit to the airport." VIDEO PAD
- Embargoed: 2nd September 2021 20:56
- Keywords: Americans in Kabul Kabul airport Ned Price State Department evacuations from Afghanistan
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EQY62IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The U.S. State Department said on Thursday (August 19) it was sending more consular officers to Kabul and other locations, including Qatar and Kuwait, to help with the evacuation effort from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized Kabul on Sunday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said 6,000 fully processed people were currently at the airport in Kabul and would soon be boarding planes. He added Washington would nearly double the number of consular officers in Kabul, without disclosing how many are deployed.
A source said that White House officials told a congressional briefing on Thursday morning that the United States had evacuated 6,741 individuals, including 1,792 American citizens and legal permanent residents, from Kabul.
The source, who listened to the teleconference, quoted the briefers as saying that the "biggest bottleneck" was getting evacuees through crowds mobbing Kabul airport gates.
"The department is sending consular staffing teams to Qatar and Kuwait to assist with the transit effort and we're preparing teams to surge to other processing locations as well," Price said.
Once the consular capacity in Kabul is doubled, he said the State Department believes it will have the number of officers needed to process individuals and fill flights. The Pentagon has said its aim is to evacuate between 5,000 and 9,000 people a day.
The United States "significantly expanded" overnight the number of American citizens, locally employed staff, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants and other vulnerable Afghans eligible for departure, Price said, adding that about 20 flights would leave Kabul on Thursday night.
Thousands of people have desperately tried to get past Taliban roadblocks and U.S. troops to reach the airport. On Thursday, the Taliban urged crowds of Afghans waiting outside it to return home, saying they did not want to hurt anyone, a day after firing at protesters and killing three.
(Production: Vanessa Johnston)
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