(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Chaos has enveloped Kabul after Afghanistan’s government’s collapsed and the Taliban seized control, all but ending America’s 20-year campaign as it began: under Taliban rule.
The U.S. has evacuated approximately 37,000 people since the effort began on Aug. 14, Pentagon officials said Monday, while reiterating their focus remains on maintaining the airport perimeter and increasing the number of evacuees out of Kabul ahead of the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.
President Joe Biden sat down with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the White House last week, the president’s first interview since the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Biden has also addressed the nation several times since.
Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:
Aug 25, 7:18 am
US evacuates 19,000 people from Kabul in past 24 hours
The United States has evacuated and facilitated the evacuation of some 82,300 people from Kabul since Aug. 14 when the Taliban closed in on Afghanistan’s capital, according to a White House official.
In a 24-hour period from Tuesday to Monday, 42 U.S. military flights carried approximately 11,200 evacuees out of Kabul. Another 7,800 people were evacuated via 48 coalition aircraft. Since the end of July, approximately 87,900 people have been relocated from Kabul via U.S. military and coalition flights, the White House official said.
Aug 25, 6:20 am
World Bank freezes aid to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan
The World Bank said it has suspended funding for projects in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power, becoming the latest international organization to do so.
“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the country’s development prospects, especially for women,” a World Bank spokesperson told ABC News in a statement Wednesday. “We have paused disbursements in our operations in Afghanistan and we are closely monitoring and assessing the situation in line with our internal policies and procedures.”
“As we do so, we will continue to consult closely with the international community and development partners,” the spokesperson added. “Together with our partners we are exploring ways we can remain engaged to preserve hard-won development gains and continue to support the people of Afghanistan.”
The World Bank, headquartered in Washington, D.C., has committed some $5.3 billion for reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan since 2002.
Last week, the International Monetary Fund announced that its financial resources will no longer be accessible to Afghanistan due to a “a lack of clarity within the international community” over the country’s government, after the Taliban seized control of the capital.
Aug 24, 9:09 pm
2 House lawmakers take unauthorized trip to Kabul amid evacuation operation
Veterans and Reps. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass., traveled to Afghanistan to review the situation at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul – an unauthorized trip they are now defending amid criticism that they distracted from the evacuation mission.
The Washington Post first reported on their unauthorized trip, and the anger it prompted inside the Pentagon and State Department as officials work around-the-clock to evacuate endangered Americans and Afghans.
Their trip prompted the letter to lawmakers House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent Tuesday that said travel to the region would distract from the ongoing evacuations.
Official travel by members of the House must be approved by the speaker or relevant committee chairs.
In a joint statement, the two representatives said they conducted the visit in secret to gather information about operations there and not disrupt them.
They provided few details on what they learned — except to say how proud they are of the U.S. officials — military and civilian — on the ground. They added that “Washington” should be “ashamed” of the position they’ve put these public servants in.
They added that they went into the visit wanting Biden to extend his deadline, but after talking to commanders on the ground, it is impossible to get “everyone out on time,” even if Biden pushed back the full withdrawal until Sept. 11.
“Sadly and frustratingly, getting our people out depends on maintaining the current, bizarre relationship with the Taliban,” they said in the statement.
While a congressional delegation to this humanitarian crisis took up time and seats, the two lawmakers defended themselves in their statement by saying in part, “We left on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence.”
Aug 24, 7:52 pm
Pelosi warns lawmakers to avoid travel to Afghanistan
In a dear colleague letter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned lawmakers to avoid traveling to Afghanistan given security concerns.
“Given the urgency of this situation, the desire of some Members to travel to Afghanistan and the surrounding areas is understandable and reflective of the high priority that we place on the lives of those on the ground,” she wrote. “However, I write to reiterate that the Departments of Defense and State have requested that Members not travel to Afghanistan and the region during this time of danger.”
“Member travel to the Afghanistan and the surrounding countries would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely and expeditiously evacuating (Americans) and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan,” she continued.
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