Taliban Reportedly Halted Evacuation Flights From Afghanistan for Past Two Weeks

© REUTERS / STRINGERA military helicopter is pictured during the Taliban military parade in Kabul, Afghanistan November 14, 2021.
A military helicopter is pictured during the Taliban military parade in Kabul, Afghanistan November 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Taliban* have suspended US-chartered Qatar Airways evacuation flights out of Afghanistan for the past two weeks, NBC reported on Thursday, citing sources.
Flights were halted over disagreements both about how the Kabul airport is managed and who is provided with seats on the evacuation flights, the report said, citing a congressional source, two refugee advocates and a source in the know.

"We are hopeful that flights will resume shortly, though as usual, winter weather conditions and airport operations remain additional factors to be aware of", a State Department official told the channel.

The Taliban allegedly demanded several seats on the flights for their fighters and sympathizers so that they can work in other countries, NBC said, citing a congressional official and the source familiar with the matter. According to the TV channel, the Taliban argue that they are running the country and Qataris use their airspace, so the radical group should receive seats on the flights.
Prior to the flight suspension, the Taliban were using the seats to send migrant workers to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other countries to find work, the report noted. The Taliban were deciding who would get the seats, and it was not known who was leaving Afghanistan – Taliban fighters, sympathizers, civilians, or a combination of these groups, according to the broadcaster.
© REUTERS / US MARINESUS Marines keep watch during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021
US Marines keep watch during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.12.2021
US Marines keep watch during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021
When the Qatari government declined to continue providing seats, the Taliban halted evacuation flights, NBC said.
The Taliban and the Qatari government are also reported to be at odds over how the Taliban are running the airport. Qatar maintains that the airport and its security are not up to international standards, and they have denounced instances of the Taliban harassing Afghan refugees at the airport or preventing them from boarding their flights, according to NBC.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, which led to the collapse of the previous government and mass evacuations from the Kabul airport. As crowds gathered at the airport, the area was hit by two terrorist attacks, the Taliban ordered all foreign evacuations to end before 31 August. Later, evacuations resumed.
*The Taliban is an organisation under the UN sanctions over terrorist activities
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