US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who is currently in Qatar, stated on Tuesday that the state department is working with the Taliban to enable additional charter flights to operate from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport for people wishing to leave Afghanistan. He added that the US has been in contact with the Islamist militant group in “recent hours” and that they have reiterated to allow Afghans to “freely leave” their country.
Taliban’s take on the scenario, Blinken said the Islamist group have reiterated that they would “let people with travel documents freely depart.” “We will hold them to that,” he added.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, along with other top defence officials and diplomats of the middle-eastern country, in Doha. US defence secretary Lloyd Austin was also present at the meeting.
Blinken also said that Washington has identified a “relatively” small number of Americans at Mazar-i-sharif who are seeking to leave Afghanistan. He informed that the US believes there are “somewhere around 100” of its citizens still in the war-torn nation who seek to leave.
“The entire international community is looking to the Taliban to uphold that commitment,” the US secretary of state said, referring to a UN Security Council resolution that sought safe passage of the people wanting to leave Afghanistan.
This comes after the US on Monday into a bordering third country – the name of which wasn’t disclosed through land, marking the first such operation since the country’s troops pulled out on August 31. A state department official said that the Taliban were aware of the move and did not interfere.
Non governmental organisations said an estimated number of people ranging between 600 and 1,300 including girls and US nationals are stuck in Mazar-i-sharif.Turkey is also keen on helping the country resume operations to gain a foothold in Taliban-led Afghanistan.