US evacuation flights from Kabul will land in Germany on Friday: Pentagon


WASHINGTON: U.S. military aircraft conducting evacuation flights from Kabul will land in Germany on Friday, the Pentagon said.

Army Major General William Taylor, with the U.S. military’s Joint Staff, told a briefing the United States was grateful to NATO ally Germany for its assistance in what was a “global” effort.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also said U.S. troops guarding the evacuation were able to help some Americans reach the inside of Kabul airfield from just outside its perimeter.

Earlier, President Joe Biden rejected criticism of his handling of the chaotic U.S. pullout from Afghanistan.

World powers struggled on Friday to hasten evacuations from Afghanistan after reports of Taliban reprisals, as U.S. President Joe Biden insisted that the chaos following the American troop withdrawal had not diminished Washington’s international credibility.

Facing a torrent of criticism at home and abroad for his handling of the withdrawal and the subsequent Taliban conquest of Afghanistan, Biden pledged that every American who wanted to would be evacuated, with about 13,000 flown out so far.

“I have seen no question of our credibility around the world from our allies,” Biden said in a speech from the White House.

“We are united with our closest partners to execute the mission at hand,” he said.

He said he could not promise what the final outcome would be in Afghanistan, where the United States has waged a 20-year war. But he promised to work with other countries to set “harsh conditions” for any cooperation or recognition of the Taliban, based on their human rights record.

“They’re looking to gain some legitimacy, they’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to retain that country,” he said. “And there’s going to be some harsh conditions, strong conditions we’re going to apply that will depend on … how well they treat women and girls, how they treat their citizens.”

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, 12 people have been killed since Sunday, NATO and Taliban officials said.

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