The United States military has carried out several rescue missions outside the airport in Kabul to help stranded Americans in the city make it to the airfield where mass evacuations are being conducted, the Pentagon said Thursday.
In an interview with journalists on Monday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said additional rescue missions have been made but did not provide any further details, Business Insider reported Tuesday.
Kirby disclosed that the U.S. had not made any "coordination" with the Taliban during the operations. It's unclear exactly when the rescue missions the Pentagon official has mentioned occurred.
Kirby said that there had been one instance where helicopters were used to help American nationals get from outside the airport walls right into the airport.
The U.S. military used "rotary winged aircraft" to airlift a group of Americans from a hotel near the Kabul international airport, CNN reported, citing a Pentagon spokesman who provided new details about the mission.
The original plan was for the Americans to walk approximately 200 meters from the hotel, but a huge crowd gathered at the gate made the Americans feel unsafe, Kirby said.
Kirby added that the Pentagon uses a multi-pronged approach to assist Americans trying to enter the airport through difficult-to-reach gates, but added he would not disclose all of them in detail because the "threat environment is so high."
Deadly violence that has prevented many evacuees from reaching the airport persisted, and the Taliban fighters said they might soon shut down the evacuation.
According to a White House official, 28 U.S. military flights transported around 10,400 people to safety out of Afghanistan over the last 24 hours.
Jake Sullivan, the national adviser of U.S. President Joe Biden, said that talks with the Taliban are ongoing as the Biden administration seeks additional avenues to safely ferry more Americans and others into the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The sudden collapse of Afghanistan to the Taliban after 20 years of conflict has left America and its NATO allies struggling to evacuate their own people and Afghan partners at the airport.