Northern Virginia has become a hub of US Afghan evacuation efforts, with Dulles International Airport having received thousands of refugees over the past days and weekend.
Aircraft full of Afghan refugees began touching down last week, with as of Monday the flights into the US ramping up. Monday morning reports say at least five planes landed at Dulles today with 1,300 total Afghan evacuees.
A new Pentagon statement indicates some 16,000 evacuees have been flown out of Kabul in the last 24 hours - this after on Friday operations out of Hamid Karzai International Airport had to be "paused" for at least eight hours as reception facilities in the region, especially Qatar, had reached capacity.
A Pentagon spokesman on Monday said the following of what's become a joint DoD and US civilian airline companies joint endeavor:
In last 24 hours, dozens of flights departed Kabul, Afghanistan, carrying 16,000 passengers, Pentagon spokesperson says; U.S. military transported just under 11,000. "Our mission remains focused on ensuring a steady flow of evacuees out of Kabul."
The tempo of flight departures overseen by the US military out of Kabul has clearly picked up, given Pentagon statements last week cited over 13,000 people flown out during the entirety of the first week of operations. Now officials are touting that over 10,000 a day are departing out of Kabul on the flights.
NEW: In last 24 hours, dozens of flights departed Kabul, Afghanistan, carrying 16,000 passengers, Pentagon spokesperson says; U.S. military transported just under 11,000.— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) August 23, 2021
"Our mission remains focused on ensuring a steady flow of evacuees out of Kabul." https://t.co/JXKClusiQ9 pic.twitter.com/dIJ1bV1tYK
Evacuees disembarking at Dulles are being sheltered at a nearby community college, specifically the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Annandale campus.
"They have no clothes. Nothing," a nurse on the scene, Hasina Shah, told local media. "But thank God, a lot of help is pouring in right now."
"The situation is so bad," she said. "And they don't know what's going to happen to them here. And I have no answers to give them." Indeed the question of "what next" in terms of their legal status looms, given little in terms of long-term clarity has been articulated from the Biden administration or DHS.