WSJ: US could use airlines in Afghan evacuation

A US newspaper is reporting that Washington is considering using commercial aircraft to help transport people who have already been airlifted from Afghanistan, as well as using US military bases in places such as Japan and South Korea to ramp up the evacuation.

The Wall Street Journal says President Joe Biden's administration is considering activating an emergency civil aviation program known as "the Civil Reserve Air Fleet."

The paper cites US officials saying civilian planes would not fly in or out of Kabul, but would help ferry thousands of Afghans and others stranded at US bases in Qatar, Bahrain and Germany. It says the bases have quickly reached capacity.

The paper also says US bases in countries such as Japan, South Korea and Italy are also being studied as potential sites to receive Afghan refugees.

On Saturday, Biden phoned the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Spain, thanking them for their cooperation in accepting Afghan evacuees.

The Biden administration has been evacuating US nationals, Afghans who cooperated with the US and Afghan women and children who are at risk of persecution.

The US Defense Department says about 17,000 people had been evacuated by Saturday.