No Flights Land or Depart Kabul’s Airport, Pentagon Says

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The Pentagon announced on Monday that no military or civilian flights were entering or leaving Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time.

Pentagon chief spokesman John F. Kirby said a security breach on the civilian side of the airport caused the American Marines there – 2,500 on Monday morning – to suspend flights until troops have secured the airport.

He said the military expected around 3,000 Marines to be at the airport by Tuesday morning to assist with the evacuation effort. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is sending an additional 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to Kabul instead of Kuwait to secure the area.

A total of 6,000 American soldiers will take over security at the airport by the end of this week and help with the evacuation.

Mr Kirby also said there was a preliminary report that an American soldier had been injured.

“All the images that come out are worrying and troubling,” Kirby said of a video of an American transport plane taking off from Kabul airport with desperate Afghans on its wings. These people were later seen falling off the plane.

He said all Americans and Afghan allies should continue “to hide until airport security can be restored”.

He said the Turkish forces at the airport would help the marines secure it.