DoD releases photos of U.S. servicemen assisting evacuation efforts in Afghanistan

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The Defense Department on Thursday released photos of U.S. servicemen participating in efforts to aid Afghan refugees as the Biden administration ramps up efforts to evacuate thousands of people seeking to escape the Taliban.

Photos showed US troops serving lunch to Afghan refugees filling out special immigration requests, a US Navy escorting civilians through a security checkpoint at Kabul airport, and Afghan civilians preparing to board aboard a transport plane to evacuate the country.

Other footage showed US Army soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division arriving in Kabul to assist with the ongoing evacuation. More than 5,200 US troops are currently on the ground in the capital.

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In another photo, a U.S. Air Force member greeted staff at the now-closed U.S. Embassy as they prepared to travel to Kuwait via Qatar Airways.

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The photos were released amid scrutiny of the Biden administration’s handling of the evacuation effort ahead of the August 31 deadline. More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan to date.

About 2,000 people have been evacuated in the past 24 hours, Pentagon officials said Thursday. That number was well below the Pentagon’s target of 5,000 to 9,000 evacuees per day hoped for. Transport planes leave Kabul with less than their full capacity of 300 passengers, and there have been reports of Taliban militants preventing people from reaching the airport.

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Another 6,000 people “have been fully processed by our consular team and will soon be boarding the planes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

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