The State Department announced that 6,000 people, including Americans, were processed for evacuation at the Kabul airport on Thursday as efforts continue to remove Americans and Afghan allies from the country.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Thursday that the U.S. had airlifted a total of 7,000 evacuees since the Taliban overthrew the nation’s government on Sunday. Mr. Price said priority is being given to American citizens and green card holders for boarding.
During the press briefing Thursday, Mr. Price also acknowledged the “congestion” surrounding the Kabul airport, acknowledging reports that some Americans have had trouble reaching the airport safely.
According to Reuters, 12 people total have been killed around the airport in Kabul as of Thursday. The report from Reuters cites an unnamed Taliban official who said the deaths were caused either by stampedes or gunshots in the area surrounding the airport. Since Monday, crowds have flocked to the airport in desperate attempts to catch an evacuation flight.
Earlier this week, the Taliban told U.S. officials it would provide safe passage for civilians to the Kabul airport. However, numerous national outlets have reported the Taliban targeting Afghans attempting to flee to the airport in recent days. Various reports say the militants have established military checkpoints across Kabul, and images of men, women and children allegedly beaten and whipped by the militants have circulated online in recent days.
Various protests were reported across Afghanistan on Thursday in the Kunar and Khost provinces. Numerous media outlets reported that a demonstration involving the Afghan flag took place outside the Kabul airport on Thursday as well.
The protests came just a day after the Taliban clashed with protestors in Jalalabad on Wednesday, leading to the death of at least one Afghan who attempted to take down the militant group’s banner and replace it with the nation’s flag.