WASHINGTON (Reuters) -About 12,500 people were evacuated from Afghanistan on Thursday, raising the total number of evacuees amid the Taliban takeover of Kabul to roughly 105,000 since Aug. 14, the White House said on Friday.
Renewed evacuation efforts ramped up a day before the militant group entered the Afghan capital on Aug. 15. Since the end of July, about 110,600 have been evacuated, the White House said.
Evacuations have resumed after two blasts killed scores of people, including 13 U.S. service members, outside the gates of Kabul airport Thursday evening, with troops on alert https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/western-nations-race-complete-afghan-evacuation-deadline-looms-2021-08-25 for more attacks.
About 5,000 of the 12,500 individuals evacuated on Thursday were airlifted out that night, according to the White House tallies.
U.S. military forces, who have guarded the airport in Kabul, are due to withdraw by the Tuesday deadline set by President Joe Biden, leaving a vacuum.
At least 5,100 U.S. citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan since Aug. 14, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday.
Psaki said “there are approximately 500 American citizens we are currently working with who want to leave.”
All Afghan evacuees are tested for COVID-19 and offered a vaccine when they arrive at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, the White House said Friday.
“Individuals who test positive are quarantined and separated,” Psaki said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Trevor Hunnicutt; Writing by Susan Heavey and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Jason Neely, Chizu Nomiyama, and Jonathan Oatis)