U.S. military officials said over 700 people were flown out of Afghanistan overnight Monday as troops restored order at Kabul’s main airport.
Seven C-17s departed with between 700 and 800 passengers, including 165 Americans.
Taylor and Defense Department Press Secretary John F. Kirby said the airlift could reach between 5,000 and 9,000 people a day, with one aircraft landing and another taking off every hour.
They said there are now about 4,000 Army and Marine personnel on the ground in Kabul to guard the evacuations.
“We’ve had no hostile interactions, no attack and no threat by the Taliban,” Taylor said. “We remain vigilant. I want to reinforce that we are focused on the present mission to facilitate the safe evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghans at risk — to get these personnel out of Afghanistan as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Kirby told CNN that between 5,000 and 10,000 U.S. citizens were believed to remain in the Kabul area.
San Diego is home to a large number of Afghan refugees, and members of the local Congressional delegation have called for an increase in the number of refugees admitted into the United States.
“We have an obligation to protect the individuals who risked their lives providing vital services to our forces on the ground,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “We’re working extensively with San Diegans who have reached out on behalf of Afghani partners as well as Americans to find a way to get them out safely.”