Updated Aug 16, 2021 - World

U.S. sending another 1,000 troops to help secure Kabul airport

Afghan civilians at Kabul airport

Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. military is deploying another 1,000 paratroopers to help secure Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where evacuations were halted Monday after thousands of Afghan civilians stormed the runway in attempts to flee the country, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The latest: Kirby said that operations are on hold until the airport is safe and secure, and that the goal is to be able to get "thousands of people out per day" once evacuations resume. The Pentagon expects the number of U.S. troops in Kabul to reach 6,000.

  • At least seven people have been killed during the chaos at the airport, including several Afghans who plunged to their deaths after clinging on to a U.S. military jet that took off from the runway, according to AP.
  • Kirby also confirmed that U.S. troops killed two armed individuals at the airport who were posing "hostile threats." It's unclear whether they were members of the Taliban.

Why it matters: The U.S. is still attempting to process visas and evacuate thousands of Afghan refugees who aided U.S. and coalition forces and may face retaliation from the Taliban, which secured Kabul on Sunday and declared victory in Afghanistan on Monday.

  • White House deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told CNN's "New Day" that the U.S. does not have the resources to ensure Afghans have safe passage to the airport, but that the Taliban has been warned they will face "severe consequences" if they interfere with evacuation efforts.
  • "We are asking people, in an orderly way, when their flight is called. It's not going to be just a free for all — it can't, for security reasons, work that way. When people's flights are timed, we're asking them to show up at the airport to be present to get on those flights," Finer said.

In photos

Crowds of people at Kabul airport
Crowds throng Hamid Karzai International Airport. Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
Afghan child on tarmac
An Afghan child walks near military uniforms as he waits to leave Kabul. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Afghans climbing on top of plane
Afghans climb atop a plane. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
US soldier pointing gun at Afghan
U.S. soldier points gun at Afghan man as military attempts to secure airport. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Traffic jam outside Kabul airport
Massive traffic jam outside of the airport in Kabul. Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies
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