Nearly 900 Afghan evacuees have arrived in Philadelphia

One Afghan national believes the evacuation efforts should still be happening.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Nearly 900 Afghan evacuees have arrived in Philadelphia
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As of Monday, Philadelphia officials say a total of 883 refugees have come through the airport gates.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The humanitarian effort to receive and process Afghan refugees at Philadelphia International Airport continued Monday.

Since Saturday morning, city officials say a total of 883 refugees have come through the airport gates. Several hundred more are anticipated to arrive on nine different aircraft throughout the next day.

SEE ALSO: Delaware County English teacher helps former student's family evacuate Afghanistan

A Strath Haven High School graduate was living in Afghanistan for the last 11 years as a contractor for the U.S. Army. Then, Kabul fell to the Taliban and he was trapped.

Meanwhile, the final five U.S. military transport aircraft lifted off out of Afghanistan Monday. They left behind up to 200 Americans and thousands of desperate Afghans who couldn't get out and now must rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. will continue to try to get Americans and Afghans out of the country, and will work with Afghanistan's neighbors to secure their departure either over land or by charter flight once the Kabul airport reopens.

"We have no illusion that any of this will be easy, or rapid," said Blinken, adding that the total number of Americans who are in Afghanistan and still want to leave may be closer to 100.

Mohammed Sadeed believes the evacuation efforts should still be happening. He worked for the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan before moving to Philadelphia. He was one of the many Afghan nationals who aided the United States during the war.

"I can say that there are thousands and thousands of people. They have the right documents in hand. One of them is my brother," said Sadeed.

SEE ALSO: How to help Afghan refugees evacuees to Philadelphia region

More than 500 people fleeing the violence engulfing Afghanistan have arrived in Philadelphia, officials said.

He says along with his brother, his parents are still stuck there as well. They're in fear for their lives from the Taliban.

"They (the Taliban) announce every day they will not harm the individuals that worked with the mission with allies, but who believes that?" said Sadeed.

He adds the United States and all countries who were involved in the war need to get those who helped out of there.

"I am raising a voice for those people that they left behind. They worked with the mission. They were loyal," said Sadeed.

Speaking shortly after the Pentagon announced the completion of the U.S. military pullout Monday, Blinken said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will remain shuttered and vacant for the foreseeable future. American diplomats, he said, will be based in Doha, Qatar.

"We will continue our relentless efforts to help Americans, foreign nationals and Afghans leave Afghanistan if they choose," Blinken said in an address from the State Department. "Our commitment to them holds no deadline."

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters the U.S. military was able to get as many as 1,500 Afghans out in the final hours of the American evacuation mission. But now it will be up to the State Department working with the Taliban to get any more people out.

McKenzie said there were no citizens left stranded at the airport and none were on the final few military flights out. He said the U.S. military maintained the ability to get Americans out right up until just before the end, but "none of them made it to the airport."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.