News and Commentary

U.S. Pauses Evacuations From Kabul, No Flights In Last 8 Hours From Afghanistan
BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN - MAY 11: U.S. Army soldiers walk to their C-17 cargo plane for departure May 11, 2013 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. U.S. soldiers and marines are part of the NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, to be completed by the end of 2014. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The United States has paused evacuations from Kabul, Afghanistan, over concerns that its evacuation base in Qatar is becoming severely overcrowded and is threatening to become a “humanitarian crisis.”

CNN’s Clarissa Ward told the network Friday morning that no flights have left Kabul airport in more than eight hours, leaving her questioning whether the United States can achieve its goal of evacuating all 10,000 to 15,000 Americans within.

“I’m sitting here for 12 hours in the airport, 8 hours on the airfield and I haven’t seen a single US plane take off. How on Earth are you going to evacuate 50,000 people in the next two weeks? It just, it can’t happen.”

CBS reported that the U.S. military has been using Doha, Qatar as its evacuation base, but the facility is now so overcrowded that could be considered a “humanitarian crisis.”

Others described the situation on the ground as a “full blow humanitarian disaster.”

“With tens of thousands of U.S. nationals, legal residents, their families and untold numbers of Afghans all desperate for a way out of the Taliban’s Afghanistan, the U.S. military was forced on Friday to pause its evacuation flights out of Kabul. The suspension, hopefully to be quickly reversed by the opening of a new flight option to a base in Bahrain, was due to the current processing facility in Qatar hitting capacity,” CBS News reported. “People inside the stuffy airbase on Friday described the situation to CBS News as ‘pretty much a full-blown humanitarian disaster.'”

Around 2,000 people were flown to Qatar from Kabul, CBS noted. All 2,000 are still at the destination air base.

The United States is currently looking for a new place to land flights coming out of Kabul airport and the U.S. military is working with the government of Bahrain to create space for an evacuation base there, per reports. Flights are expected to resume this afternoon with Bahrain, rather than Doha as a destination.

“there was a stop in evacuation flights overnight because of the need to find receiving facilities to house evacuees from #afghanistan, since Doha has reached capacity. As reported below, flights should resume and start flying to Bahrain this afternoon,” CBS News reporter Christina Ruffini confirmed.

The U.S. is also looking for more facilities, as the base in Bahrain can accept just 1,000 people.

On the ground in Kabul, Afghanistan, the situation appears to be desperate. Thousands of Afghans and American citizens are crowding the gates to the airport, but the Taliban is reportedly checking visas and other paperwork looking for U.S. allies and others who may have worked with coalition forces. At least one reporter noted as The Daily Wire said earlier Friday, that Americans have been “injured and stopped from boarding planes” and that Americans were “beaten throughout the night.”

The United Nations said Friday that it is concerned the Taliban is rounding up enemies for a “mass execution.”

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