US Refused to Give Access to Military Bases For Charter Flights With Afghans, Report Says
01:52 GMT 08.09.2021 (Updated: 01:53 GMT 08.09.2021)
The US military has reportedly not evacuated all the civilians from Afghanistan they planned, although a number of American officials claimed earlier that the government is determined to make every effort to get them out of the country.
The US Department of State reportedly refused to approve private flights from Afghanistan that could evacuate a number of American citizens and Afghan refugees, according to leaked emails, alleged to have been obtained by Fox News.
According to a military lawyer and retired US Marine, Eric Montalvo, who provided the purported documents, he carried out a number of evacuation flights from Afghanistan before the US government suspended the use of American property inside the US as well as at its numerous foreign military bases.
"No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power. In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land," according to an official response.
Officials told Montalvo that he is allowed to conduct flights and deliver asylum seekers to “another destination country,” but not to the US, that would only approve charters to other receiving countries.
The report came after unnamed American officials made statements claiming the US government would make every effort to evacuate the remaining refugees. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that Washington continues to work on organizing additional flights out of Kabul for Americans.
© REUTERS / STRINGERA member of the Taliban forces points his gun at protesters, as Afghan demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan September 7, 2021
A member of the Taliban forces points his gun at protesters, as Afghan demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-Pakistan protest, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan September 7, 2021
On Sunday, the White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, stressed that the US intends to evacuate all Afghan allies and asylum seekers, along with American citizens, if they desire to leave.
The airport in Kabul and all of Afghan airspace is no longer under American military control and the US government no longer has the authority to issue clearances, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price. He dismissed speculation that the US is blocking charter flights from Kabul.
“The misimpression that is out there that we are preventing or even the idea that we could prevent a charter flight from taking off - that is simply untrue. We could not and we are not,” he said in a briefing last week.
Meanwhile, reports claimed that nearly 1,000 people still await evacuation flights. Earlier this week, reports said that the US, for the first time, helped a number of Americans to leave the country since the evacuation of the US military was completed.
American troops departed Afghanistan on 31 August, ending a 20-year stay in the country. The US has evacuated an estimated 124,000 people, including 6,000 American citizens, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.