Reports of US Plans to Restart Evacuation Flights From Afghanistan 'Not Accurate', State Dept. Says
12:11 GMT 14.10.2021 (Updated: 18:40 GMT 14.10.2021)
The large-scale evacuation from Afghanistan was completed on 31 August along with the pullout of international forces.
The United States has no plans to resume military-led evacuation flights from Afghanistan, the State Department said on Thursday. However, Washington is working to ensure that the existing charter flights become more frequent.
"The idea that we're restarting evacuation flights, à la what we had prior to Aug. 31, is not accurate," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing. "The charter flights have been routine. Our goal is to make them even more routine to lend a degree of automaticity to these operations so that we can facilitate the departure of Americans, of lawful permanent residents and others."
The statement came just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a senior State Department official, that the US was planning to resume evacuation flights from Afghanistan by the end of year.
"As soon as we have the right combination of documentation and logistics, we will get going again,” the official said.
According to the official, the State Department is continuing to process visa applications so more people can become eligible for the flights.
“Until the airport is reopened, I think all we have to deal with really is charter flights, because regular airlines are going to find it very difficult to pay the insurance premiums that are required or be willing to fly into Afghanistan,” the official added.
The Taliban* entered the Afghan capital of Kabul in mid-August, which led to the collapse of the previous Western-backed government, and mass evacuations of foreigners and nationals seeking to escape Afghanistan in fear of the movement. The large-scale evacuation operation was completed on 31 August along with the pullout of international forces.
During chaotic, last-minute evacuations, a limited number of Afghans, who had previously worked for the international forces during their deployment in Afghanistan, managed to leave the country in evacuation flights.
The Taliban then gained control over Afghanistan in early September by completing the offensive against the last standing province of Panjshir and announced a new all-male government, led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund, a former foreign minister during the previous Taliban rule, who has been under UN sanctions since 2001.
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.