Women shuffling toddlers along, a mother carrying a sleeping child and a man embracing a young boy were among the latest wave of Afghan evacuees to arrive at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Tuesday.
They’re just a few of the 58,700 people that the US has evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14, a day before the Taliban entered the Afghan capital of Kabul and US diplomats were ferried out by helicopter.
After landing at Dulles, many of the families boarded buses to the nearby Dulles Expo Center in Fairfax County, according to the Washington Post.
The 100,000 sq ft venue usually hosts business conventions, but it has now been converted into a temporary shelter.
Families evacuated from Kabul landed at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Tuesday
They boarded coach buses headed for processing at the nearby Dulles Expo Center venue
A man with a bandaged head hugs his cousin after arriving in Virginia on an evacuation flight
One lawmaker says it’s ‘unlikely’ everyone will be rescued by the withdrawal date of August 31
About 21,600 were evacuated from Afghanistan in a 24-hour period ending at 3am Tuesday
A young girl holds a US flag as she waits for relatives with her parents in Chantilly, Virginia
Those who arrived at the expo center, above, are just some of the 60K evacuees since the 14th
Young girls have a snack as they wait outside of the airport terminal in Virginia
A young girl in a pink skirt played with a small American flag as she waited with her parents for Afghan relatives at the expo center.
In another photo, a woman carries a sleeping child as she board a bus, presumably headed for the expo center.
A total of 57 coalition flights and 37 US military flights evacuated roughly 21,600 people from Kabul within 24 hours as of 3 am Tuesday, according to White House numbers.
The rescue operation has dramatically stepped-up after criticism it was moving far too slowly in the initial days of the crisis, after the Taliban retook Kabul on August 15.
US Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Massachussets) and Peter Meijer (R-Michigan) flew in and out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to monitor the US withdrawal and evacuations.
A young girl smiles as she arrives in the US from war-torn Afghanistan on Tuesday
The military veterans paid for their own tickets to the United Arab Emirates and boarded a US military plane to Kabul.
‘We conducted this visit in secret, speaking about it only after our departure, to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to grandstand,’ the two said in a joint statement.
‘As veterans, we care deeply about the situation on the ground at Hamid Karzai International Airport. America has a moral obligation to our citizens and loyal allies, and we must make sure that obligation is being kept.’
US Representatives Peter Meijer, left, and Seth Moulton, both served in Iraq. They went on a secret trip to Afghanistan to monitor the evacuation efforts on Tuesday
The bungled US withdrawal from Afghanistan has tumbled President Biden’s approval ratings
The US withdrawal was first announced by former President Donald Trump in February 2020
Later on, they added: ‘It’s obvious that because we started the evacuation so late, that no matter what we do, we won’t get everyone out on time, even by September 11.’
The move left the State Department, Defense Department and White House officials furious, the Associated Press reported, as it was done without coordination with diplomats or military commanders directing the evacuation.
Officials said they also had to divert resources away from the evacuation effort to provide security and information for the congressmen.
On Monday, House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said it was ‘unlikely’ that the US will be able to evacuate all US citizens and Afghan translators and other US allies by President Joe Biden’s deadline of August 31.
‘Given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of [Special Immigration Visas], the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders women leaders, it’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,’ he said.
Taliban fighters were reported to have gone door-to-door, forcibly marrying girls as young as 12 and forcing them into sex slavery as they seized vast swathes of the Afghanistan from government forces before they finally took Kabul.
Two women walk out of the airport terminal at Washington Dulles before boarding a bus
Biden is being blamed for how the withdrawal’s been carried out. Seventy-four percent of Americans believe it’s gone ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ badly
Many are concerned with the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls, with reports saying that Taliban fighters have been going to villages and marrying girls as young as 12
57 coalition and 37 US military flights evacuated people over 24 hours ending Tuesday at 3am
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said extending US withdrawal would be ‘a red line’ Monday
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said that if the US extended its evacuation past this month, it would amount to ‘extending occupation,’ which is ‘a red line.’
‘If the US or UK were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,’ he told Sky News in an interview Monday.
Biden’s handling of the withdrawal has caused his approval ratings to tumble as the chaos in the Middle East unravels.
A man carries luggage as the latest wave of Afghan refugees lands in Dulles airport in Virginia
Biden says US forces are expanding the perimeter around the Kabul airport to further evacuations
A CBS News/YouGov survey shows that 74 percent of respondents believe withdrawal from the Taliban-overrun country has gone ‘very badly’ or ‘somewhat badly.’
The president’s overall approval rating is down to 50 percent from 62 percent in March.
Approval of his handling of the withdrawal, which was announced by former President Donald Trump in February 2020, is down to 47 percent from 60 percent in July, before the Taliban inched their way into Kabul, took over the presidential palace and sent President Ashraf Ghani fleeing to the United Arab Emirates.
The Kabul airport has become a relative safe haven for evacuations, but accessing it has proven near impossible due to Taliban checkpoints and chaos among the crowds outside the perimeter.
While Biden and his administration have said the Taliban has promised safe passage to the airport for American citizens, there are reports that Americans are being assaulted as they try to reach Hamid Karzai International.
A group of young boys sit outside the terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport
An Afghan man carries a boy on his shoulders outside of the Dulles Expo Center in Virginia
A young boy embraces a family member as Afghan refugees are greeted by family in the US
A Afghan boy yawns after a grueling trip from Afghanistan to Chantilly, Virginia on Tuesday