State Department has promised on Thursday not to charge Americans to fly out of Afghanistan after report of repatriation fee of $2000 or more triggered outrage since the US officials said earlier evacuation flights out of Kabul would be free.
Media reports warned that a security alert on repatriation assistance for US citizens in Afghanistan, published on Overseas Security Advisory Council’s website August 14, the same day the Taliban took over Kabul, clearly states that “repatriation flights are not free.”
It said that Americans hoping to leave Afghanistan will have to promise first to repay the US government for the privilege of their rescue, with the cost of their evacuations to the tune of $2,000 or more per person. Unnamed sources said State Department staff are asking for up to $2,000 per US citizen and more from noncitizens.
According to US embassy in Kabul’s instructions, anyone hoping to leave Afghanistan must send the Repatriation Assistance Request form containing the promissory note, and that will have to hope a seat will be found for them on a first-come, first-served basis.
OSAC is part of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Asked for comment on the scandalous request on Thursday, State Department spokesman Ned Price emphasized that US law requires that evacuation assistance to private US citizens or third country nationals to be reimbursed to the maximum extent practicable, but faced with the backlash, he underscored State Department has no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.