US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Tuesday during a press conference in Doha that the United States plans to organize new evacuation flights for the US citizens and at-risk Afghans from the Afghan capital Kabul and is working to ensuring charter flights, Arab News reports.
During the hastened evacuation efforts in August, almost all of around 6,000 US citizens in Afghanistan were evacuated, but around a hundred people who have American citizenship and have been in the country for years with families are still somewhere in Afghanistan, he said.
Blinken pointed that they’re working around the clock with NGOs and members of Congress to arrange more such flights while doing all they can to clear all roadblocks for safe evacuation and also engaging a great deal of diplomacy talking with the Taliban.
He also denied the reports that the Taliban had blocked American citizens attempting to fly out of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, noting that the charter flights were not allowed to depart because some people lacked valid travel documents.
According to the reports, around 1,000 people, including Americans, are stuck for days at Mazar-i-Sharif airport awaiting clearance for their charter flights to leave with one of the organizers of the private evacuation efforts blaming the delay on the State Department.
Blinken has used the opportunity on Tuesday to thank Qatar for its role in helping evacuations and saving thousands of lives in Afghanistan, adding that the efforts wouldn’t be successful without Qatar’s support.
He arrived in Doha on Monday with the Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with top Qatari officials, including Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
According to Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, has Doha evacuated 58,000 people from Afghanistan and now has been working with Turkey and the US on restoring operations at Kabul airport. It also coordinates with the Taliban on the security measures at Kabul airport.