U.S. to continue Afghan evacuations over coming weeks -Pentagon

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WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Reuters) - The United States will seek to evacuate as many U.S. citizens and Afghan interpreters as possible in coming weeks, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday, saying Americans could again make their way to the Kabul airport.

In a series of U.S. television interviews, Kirby said the U.S. military, including thousands of incoming troops, were squarely focused on airport operations and security.

"We remain committed to completing this drawdown in a safe and orderly way, and to doing what we can to getting as many of our American citizens out as well as many of those interpreters and translators" who assisted U.S. forces, Kirby told MSNBC.

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"We're going to work really hard in the coming weeks to get as many of them out of the country as we can."

Crowds of people are seen on the tarmac at Kabul's airport in Afghanistan August 16, 2021. SATELLITE IMAGE 2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES/Handout via REUTERS.

Kirby told CNN's "New Day" program that between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. citizens were believed to remain in the Kabul area, and that the United States could move between 5,000 and 9,000 people out of Kabul per day.

Three U.S. military bases were prepared to accept up to 22,000 Afghan allies in the coming weeks, he added.

More than 700 people, including more than 150 U.S. citizens, were evacuated in the past 24 hours, Kirby said separately on ABC News' "Good Morning America."

While the airport was open and flights underway, there were some security concerns at the southern side of the airport, he added.

"Our focus militarily ... is very squarely on the airport -- making sure that we can keep it up and running, that we can maintain security and stability there."

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Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert; Editing by John Stonestreet and Alison Williams

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