US President Joe Biden’s administration on Sunday said that commercial aircraft would be used to ferry people who have been evacuated from Afghanistan. These flights would transport thousands of Afghans who are arriving at U.S. bases in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The move highlights the difficulty the administration is having in carrying out the evacuation of American citizens and at-risk Afghans. A Pentagon spokesman said 18 aircraft would not fly into Kabul but would be used to transport people who have already been flown out of Afghanistan.
This would be only the third time the “Civil Reserve Air Fleet” has been activated. The first time was during the Gulf War in 1990 and then during the invasion of Iraq in 2002.
The United States and other foreign countries including Britain have brought in several thousand troops to manage the evacuations of foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans, but have stayed away from the outside areas of the airport.
There is also increasing concern about security in Kabul, where roughly 5,800 troops are protecting the airport.