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In Kabul, Private Rescue Efforts Grow Desperate as Time to Evacuate Afghans Runs Out

In Kabul, Private Rescue Efforts Grow Desperate as Time to Evacuate Afghans Runs Out

Defense contractor Erik Prince charges $6,500 a person, other groups’ planes leave Kabul empty.
A disparate group of American veterans, military contractors, aid workers and former spies is scrambling to get as many people out of Afghanistan as they can before President Biden shuts the window for rescues in coming days.

Even as tens of thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. and a large number of American and other foreign citizens remain stranded, Mr. Biden is sticking by his plan to withdraw the remaining military forces from Kabul’s U.S.-controlled airport by Aug. 31.

Erik Prince, the American defense contractor, said he was offering people seats on a chartered plane out of Kabul for $6,500 per person. U.S. and NATO forces are sending special rescue teams into Taliban-controlled areas of the city to spirit their citizens into the airport. And countless Afghans who thought the U.S. would protect them after having assisted the U.S.-led coalition forces in the past two decades are now realizing they will most likely be left behind.

Aid organizations have been told by Western governments that evacuation flights won’t continue past Friday, as the U.S. military will need the days remaining until the Aug. 31 deadline to remove its own equipment and troops from Kabul.

Private rescue efforts are facing growing obstacles this week, just as the urgency grows. Chartered planes are flying out of Kabul with hundreds of empty seats. New Taliban checkpoints on the road to Pakistan have made driving out of the country increasingly risky. Bureaucratic hurdles have prevented many from leaving Afghanistan.
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