The US military used three CH-47 “Chinook” helicopters to bring 169 Americans to the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Fox News reporter Lucas Tomlinson tweeted.
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Earlier on Friday, US officials from both the State Department and Pentagon declined to confirm the veracity of the helicopter mission earlier in the day amid reports that nearly 100 were ferried away amid the turmoil in Afghanistan.
Pentagon: 3 U.S. Army CH-47 helicopters picked up 169 Americans outside Kabul Airport
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 20, 2021
Kirby said that US operations continue to take place primarily within the confines of the airport itself, although there was one successful mission to rescue 169 Americans from shortly outside the airport’s perimeter.
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price deferred to Kirby’s answer on the subject when presented with the same question, but he did add that the US will do everything they responsibly can to assist Americans.
Additionally, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the US government is raising with Taliban officials whom it engages “at all levels” the growing number of reports that the Islamist movement is harassing the press following its occupation of the Afghan capital Kabul.
“We’re raising them on all levels with our interlocutors,” Price said at the daily State Department press briefing on Friday when asked about reports of Taliban harassing media.
Earlier in the day, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told US Representatives that Americans had had run-ins with the Taliban in Kabul, contradicting President Joe Biden’s claims that nationals were making their way to the airport unimpeded.
Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby later acknowledged that the US military was aware of reports of Americans being harassed and sometimes beaten by Taliban forces, calling the reports deeply troubling.