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U.S. Conducts Drone Strike in Kabul and Winds Down Airlift as Deadline Nears

todayAugust 29, 2021

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Over nearly two decades, the war has claimed the lives of more than 2,400 U.S. troops, more than 1,100 service members from allied nations, more than 3,800 American contractors, more than 500 aid workers and journalists, more than 47,000 Afghan civilians, as many as 69,000 Afghan soldiers and police officers and about 51,000 insurgent fighters, according to Brown University’s Costs of War project.

Tens of thousands of Afghans with connections to NATO military and diplomatic efforts or the toppled, U.S.-backed Afghan government continue to seek ways out of the country for fear of Taliban reprisals. Thousands of those who thronged to the airport in the last two weeks — risking ISIS-K attacks, trampling by those around them and beatings by Taliban fighters trying to control the crowd — were unable to get past the gates.

The U.S. government is aiding about 250 American citizens still in Afghanistan who are trying to leave, some of whom were already at the airport, and is aware of about 280 others who have chosen not to leave for now, the State Department said on Sunday.

Despite Taliban vows of no reprisals against former adversaries, there have been reports that the militants have rounded up and killed Afghans who worked with the former government or its foreign backers.

The United States and 97 other countries said on Sunday that they had “received assurances from the Taliban” that Afghans with travel documents for those countries would be permitted to leave Afghanistan after U.S. troops depart.

The countries also pledged to “continue issuing travel documentation to designated Afghans” and cited a “clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban” of their safe passage. Notably missing from the statement were Russia and China, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council who have pledged to help the Taliban rebuild Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s chief negotiator, Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, announced on Friday that the group would not stop people from departing, no matter their nationality or whether they had worked for the United States during the 20-year war.

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