Taliban Consent to Afghans to Leave, Blinken Said

September 08, 2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that the Taliban were following through on promises to release Afghans, after hearing firsthand about the country’s future concerns during a trip to Qatar. On a two-day visit to Qatar, Blinken met Afghan evacuees and US teams assisting them. Qatar has served as a transit route for nearly half of the more than 120,000 people airlifted from Afghanistan since the Taliban’s lightning takeover on August 15.

President Joe Biden has come under increasing pressure from activists and Republican rivals who claim the Taliban have prevented hundreds of people, including Americans, from flying out of the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on commercial flights planned over the last week. According to Blinken, the US was in contact with the Taliban again on Tuesday, who promised to allow Afghans to “freely leave” a key test as the US considers whether to work with an Islamist-led future government in Afghanistan.

“We are not cognizant of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hijacker situation in Mazar-i-Sharif,” Blinken said at a news conference in Doha, where he and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin were meeting their Qatari counterparts.

“We have been secured, once again, that all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid visa will be permitted to depart”. “We plan to hold the Taliban accountable for that.” He stated that the US was working to resolve issues with commercial flights, such as security screening and some passengers’ lack of identification. He claimed that the Taliban cooperated when a family of four US citizens fled overland, the first such departure arranged by the US government following the chaotic end to the 20-year US war.

Qatar told Blinken that it was working quickly with Turkey to rebuild Kabul’s run down airport, allowing more members to move and humanitarian supplies to enter. Blinken and Austin expressed gratitude to Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and toured the Al Udeid military air base outside Doha, which has become the busiest point of entry for evacuees from Afghanistan.

“There is a lot of change going on. “I can’t tell you where everything will land”. He stated that the US was committed to girls’ education and assisting Afghan refugees. “We are also dedicated to doing everything possible to assist people who are still in Afghanistan and seeking a better future. Lastly, he added, “That will play out in a variety of ways in the coming weeks, months, and possibly years”.

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