US evacuated about 6,000 American citizens, more than 124,000 civilians from Afghanistan: Defence secretary Lloyd Austin – World News
“US evacuated some 6,000 American citizens, and a total of more than 124,000 civilians. And we did it all in the midst of a pandemic and in the face of grave and growing threats,” Austin said during a speech at the Pentagon at end of the military mission in Afghanistan.
Austin said that he is proud of how military members have welcomed Afghan refugees to the United States.
“Some of those brave Afghans will be coming to make new lives with their families in America, after careful screening & security vetting run by our interagency partners. I’m proud of the way that our military communities have welcomed them,” said Austin.
He said that the US has concluded the largest air evacuation of civilians in American history.
“We have just concluded the largest air evacuation of civilians in American history. It was heroic. And I hope that all Americans will unite to thank our service members for their courage and compassion,” he said.
Austin also honours those who died over the course of the war in Afghanistan. “Our forces risked their own lives to save the lives of others, and 13 of our very best, paid the ultimate price,” he said.
“I want to end with a word to the force and their families: Thank you to all those who served in this war. Because you are the greatest asset that we have. You. The extraordinary men and women who volunteer to keep us all safe, and your families,” he added.
He also said that he will be visiting the Gulf next week.
“I’ll be traveling to the Gulf next week to thank our partners there who’ve done so much to help save and shelter Afghan civilians,” he said.