Hero Marines reveal they flew 823 Afghans out of Kabul on C-17, including 183 kids


The heroic Marines who ignored red tape restrictions to save 823 Afghans from Kabul on Sunday by cramming them into a C-17 cargo jet spoke out on Friday about the mission, revealing they saved 183 more than previously reported.   

At first it had been reported that the crew took 640 Afghans out of Kabul but the true number was 823 and includes 183 kids whose presence on board wasn’t previously accounted for.  

The flight breaks the record for the number of people to have ever been flown on a C-17 jet and disgraces the other C-17 jets that have left Kabul with only 100 people on board this week, while thousands wait at the airport gates desperate to be saved. 

They are not being allowed through to board planes because they don’t have the right paperwork and thousands of Westerners and others in the city remain unable to even get to the airport because they’re being stopped by the Taliban.   

On Friday, Lt. Colonel Eric Kut, who made the decision to leave the airport with as many Afghans on board, said he was more interested in saving lives than checking paperwork and abiding by red tape rules. 

‘First and foremost, a lot of people talk about rules and capacity. We were trained to handle that to max perform that aircraft. 

‘When you have women and children and people’s lives at stake, it’s not about capacity or rules or regulations. It’s about the training to make sure we could handle we could that many people out.

‘We were there to do what we were trained to do. We were there to deliver hope and freedom,’ he told CNN’s New Day. 

The Marines appeared on CNN on Friday morning to talk about their flight on Sunday. At first it had been reported that they took 640 Afghans out of Kabul.’ When you have women and children and people’s lives at stake, it’s not about capacity or rules or regulations. It’s about the training to make sure we could handle we could that many people out. ‘We were there to do what we were trained to do. We were there to deliver hope and freedom,’ Lt. Colonel Eric Kut, who ultimately made the call to take off, told CNN’s New Day. 

At first it had been reported that they took 640 Afghans out of Kabul. They revealed the true number was 823 and that 183 children weren't counted in the first reports

At first it had been reported that they took 640 Afghans out of Kabul. They revealed the true number was 823 and that 183 children weren’t counted in the first reports

 When you have women and children and people’s lives at stake, it’s not about capacity or rules or regulations. It’s about the training to make sure we could handle we could that many people out.

He said the refugees had been ‘anxious’ to get out but were ‘excited and thrilled’ once they took off. 

‘They were definitely anxious to get out of the area and we were happy to accommodate them. They were definitely excited when we were airborne. 

‘Everybody was very thrilled to actually leave,’ he said.

The flight on Sunday is one of the few success stories to have come out of Kabul. 

Since then, tens of thousands have been unable to get to the airport or on planes because they are either being held back by the Taliban on the roads in the city, or stopped by paperwork backlogs at the airport. 

Now, the US is considering destroying its most sophisticated equipment to stop the Taliban from using it against the Afghan people once the last American boots leave the ground.  It’s unclear how much the equipment cost.  

Since 2003 the United States has provided Afghan forces with at least 600,000 infantry weapons including M16 assault rifles, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night-vision goggle devices.

A sea of desperate Afghans waiting to be let through the gates at Kabul airport to be put on one of any of the evacuation flights

A sea of desperate Afghans waiting to be let through the gates at Kabul airport to be put on one of any of the evacuation flights 

The troops are using gunfire to disperse the crowds, which are unrelenting for the sixth day. No one is thought to have been shot dead at the airport but there are reports of people being trampled

The troops are using gunfire to disperse the crowds, which are unrelenting for the sixth day. No one is thought to have been shot dead at the airport but there are reports of people being trampled

The troops are using gunfire to disperse the crowds, which are unrelenting for the sixth day. No one is thought to have been shot dead at the airport but there are reports of people being trampled 

The chaos on the ground continues at Kabul airport, where US troops are trying to control crowds of thousands of desperate Afghans who want to get on planes

The chaos on the ground continues at Kabul airport, where US troops are trying to control crowds of thousands of desperate Afghans who want to get on planes

The chaos on the ground continues at Kabul airport, where US troops are trying to control crowds of thousands of desperate Afghans who want to get on planes

A US soldier shoots in the air with his pistol whiel standing guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan

A US soldier shoots in the air with his pistol whiel standing guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan

US soldiers sit on a wall as Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan

US soldiers sit on a wall as Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan

US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan

US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan

‘The ability to operate at night is a real game-changer,’ one congressional aide told Reuters. 

‘Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,’ one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.  

The officials said launching airstrikes against the larger equipment, such as helicopters, has not been ruled out, but there is concern that would antagonize the Taliban at a time the United States’ main goal is evacuating people.

The Taliban now controls 2,000 armored vehicles, including US Humvees, 40 aircraft which could include UH-60 Black Hawks,.   

‘We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. 

‘This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,’ Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters in an email.

A U.S. Marine assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit interacts with children during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021

A U.S. Marine assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit interacts with children during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021

A U.S. Marine assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit guide an evacuee during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021. Picture taken August 18, 2021. U.S

A U.S. Marine assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit guide an evacuee during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021. Picture taken August 18, 2021. U.S





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