(AP) — U.S. officials say they are taking steps to secure Kabul’s international airport to enable the safe departure of thousands of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan by way of civilian and military flights.
In a joint statement Sunday night, the State Department and the Pentagon say the U.S. security presence will have expanded to nearly 6,000 troops over the next two days. Those forces will take over air traffic control and focus on civilian and military departures.
The officials say those leaving include American citizens who have been living in Afghanistan, locally employed staff of the U.S. mission in Kabul and their families, and other particularly vulnerable Afghan nationals.
Also part of the departure plan are thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. special immigrant visas. Nearly 2,000 of those with special visas have arrived in the United States over the past two weeks.
A State Department official tells The Associated Press that almost all U.S. Embassy personnel have relocated to a facility at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
— Matthew Lee.