US Plans to Organise New Evacuation Flights From Kabul, Blinken Says
10:43 GMT 07.09.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States plans to organise new evacuation flights from the Afghan capital Kabul, as the Taliban* pledged to let people with travel documents depart freely, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on 7 September.
"[We are] working to arrange more such [evacuation] flights. We are working around the clock with NGOs, with members of Congress ... providing all information and doing all we can to clear all roadblocks that they have identified to make sure that charter flights carrying Americans ... can depart Afghanistan safely ... We are conducting a great deal of diplomacy ... We are also engaging with the Taliban, including in recent hours. They've said that they will let people with travel documents freely depart, we will hold them to that. So will dozens of other countries. The international community is watching to see if the Taliban will deliver on their commitments", Blinken said at a press conference in Doha.
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When evacuations began in August, there were around 6,000 US citizens in Afghanistan and almost all of them were evacuated, but "it is not surprising that despite the situation and encouragement, some people did not or could not make a decision" to leave, as they have been in Afghanistan for years with families, the secretary of state went on to say.
"At this point, we believe that the number of those who have American citizenship ... in Afghanistan is somewhere around a hundred", Blinken added.
The US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan last week, ending a nearly 20-year military presence in the country, with the Taliban regaining control of the nation after ousting the western-backed government.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned by Russia and many other states.