- At least three Afghan babies have been born aboard U.S. evacuation flights, the U.S. commander overseeing the airlift said Monday.
- The Pentagon is accelerating its efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan before Aug. 31, making nearly 200 aircraft available for the military mission.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. commander overseeing the colossal airlift in Afghanistan said at least three babies have been born on evacuation flights leaving Kabul — a striking reminder of the desperation and humanity at the center of this high-stakes military mission to exit a war zone.
"I really appreciate the news reporting on the baby being born as that flight came into Ramstein," the U.S. air base in Germany, U.S. Army Gen. Steve Lyons told reporters on Monday.
"There's actually been more than that, so it's just, just an incredible operation, ongoing, you know, just impressive work by our great airmen," he said, adding that his most updated tally was three babies.
Lyons added that while the U.S. does not have medics on every flight, evacuees undergo a medical screening ahead of boarding the aircraft.
On Saturday, an Afghan woman went into labor aboard a C-17 military cargo evacuation flight.
"The aircraft commander made the decision to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother's life," U.S. Air Mobility Command wrote in a statement.
Upon landing at Ramstein, the baby girl and mother were transported to a nearby medical facility. The statement added that the two were in good condition.
The latest revelation comes as the Pentagon accelerates its evacuation efforts, making nearly 200 aircraft available for the military mission.
On Monday, the Pentagon said that the U.S. has evacuated or helped to evacuate approximately 37,000 people out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14, with about 10,400 of them airlifted out over the weekend.
Since the end of July, the U.S. has relocated approximately 42,000 people from Afghanistan. There are still several thousand Americans in the country believed to be awaiting evacuation, according to the State Department.