Evacuation

Evacuating people from Afghanistan is a complex problem andgiven the volatile nature of the situationconditions are difficult to predict.

You can find more information on the current evacuation options below.

Last updated 08/30/2021

Evacuees

  • Unclear numbers of evacuees distributed across Afghanistan and potentially isolated from assistance
  • Varied levels of threat and exposure within Afghanistan
  • Limited resources available to support movement and emigration

Air Transit

  • Potential reopening of air transit, including possible return of commercial air and NGO charters for bulk evacuation
  • Limited evacuee access based on immigration status, resources, and risk

Ground Transit

  • Afghanistan’s porous borders enable some ground evacuation 
  • Routes are indirect and have variable risk exposure and length

Initial Destination

  • Neighboring countries have varied policies toward evacuees 
  • Routes and initial destinations will become congested and resource-constrained
  • Evacuees may either be forced to move on from initial destinations or prevented from freely moving toward desired subsequent destinations
  • Location of all evacuees uncertain given unofficial organization of charter flights and landing rights
  • USG Assistance
    • US Embassies and the US Refugee Assistance Program (USRAP) will assist in processing immigration and asylum applications, though resource scaling to process large numbers of evacuees is required
    • Seven US government-accredited Resettlement Support Centers (RSCs) will provide processing support
    • Applications will be completed while immigration applicants and asylum seekers are in third-party countries, unless an evacuee is granted Humanitarian Parole
    • Some countries will not permit the US to process evacuees’ asylum applications in their countries
  • NGO Assistance
    • UNHCR and NGOs providing refugee assistance are an established presence in many countries and will be able to provide support and assist with resettlement options
    • Capabilities will be taxed by the heavy influx of Afghan evacuees

The Original Evacuation Problem

Evacuating people from Afghanistan is a complex problem: the systems can be confusing to navigate, conflicting and duplicative;  communication between the many stages can lag or lapse altogether; andgiven the volatile nature of the situationconditions are difficult to predict.

You can find more information on the specific roadblocks potential evacuees faced at the beginning of the military withdrawal below.

Evacuees are stranded in the city

  • There are American Citizens (AMCITs), Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and applications, and other Afghans who need to evacuate located all over Kabul who need to get to the airport.
  • They have difficulty passing through local checkpoints and, generally, they are not being picked up and brought to the airport.

Getting to the airport is risky

  • There is no clear path to the airport
  • The conditions en-route to the airport are dynamic, change frequently, and are often unpredictable
  • The location and conditions of local checkpoints change frequently
  • There is no crowd control outside of the airport, and these crowds present a security concern

Airport access can be unclear

  • No clear recognition or verification system for who is allowed into the gates of the airport
  • No singular/reliable dissemination of list of entry permission
  • Coordination gaps between being told to go to a gate and actually getting into the gate

There are not enough places to land evacuees in third-party countries

  • There are sufficient funded charter flights ready to pick people up, however they need places to land outside of Afghanistan—temporary destinations for the evacuees.

  • The evacuation operation needs authorization from other countries to land people in that country, until the immigration process can be completed or they can move onward.

There aren't enough destinations for evacuees

  • There is a deficit of mid- and long-term evacuee resettlement capacity, or it is unclear and coordination is lacking
  • Transit to these locations is uncertain