Thousands still waiting to leave Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (NBC) – As of Wednesday morning, up to 15,000 Americans are still in Afghanistan with the U.S. racing to get them back home. But officials say Taliban checkpoints are making it difficult to get those outside of Kabul, safely to the airport.

NBC News’ Richard Engel made it onto the military side of Kabul Airport, the last place in Afghanistan where the American flag still flies. It’s where the United States is overseeing an elaborate evacuation from the country.

The evacuation is mostly focused on airlifting Americans and other foreign nationals and Afghans who managed to obtain visas, and who are happy to leave.

Engel spoke to a group of Afghans who all worked on this base for years, earning around $500 dollars a month to be cleaners and cooks. Not one has obtained a visa.

What bothers them isn’t just the lack of action, but the lack of concern.

Just outside the airport, there are still many Afghans pushing to get in including many women, begging to get out of the country so they don’t have to live under the Taliban.

A State Department official has met with the Afghan workers on this base and assured them that efforts are underway to get their families on to the base, and to get both them and their families visas to leave the country.

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