Commercial airlines are said to ease the burden on those bases, which fill up quickly as the Biden administration rushes to increase the number of flights for thousands of Afghans fearing retaliation from Taliban fighters.
From bases in the Middle East, airliners would increase military flights carrying Afghans to Germany, Italy, Spain and other stopovers in Europe, and then ultimately to the United States for many Afghans. , officials said.
This is only the third time that the reserve air fleet has been activated. The first took place during the Persian Gulf War (August 1990 to May 1991). The second took place during the war in Iraq (from February 2002 to June 2003).
The Army Transport Command issued a warning to major airlines on Friday evening that some of their fleets may be needed for the evacuation effort, according to Captain John Perkins, a spokesperson for the command.
For the evacuation mission, one of the most important the Pentagon has ever undertaken, the military has expanded beyond its fleet of C-17s, the cargo plane of choice in hostile environments, to include giant C-5s and KC-10s, a refueling plane. which can be configured to carry passengers.