After the previous, chaotic expulsion, a small number of American citizens, but still thousands of Afghans, may want to leave Afghanistan.
The last U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan on August 31, ending a 20-year stay in the country. Since then, a small number of flights with Americans, Afghans and foreign nationals have been arranged from Kabul Airport and the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Some crossed the border from Central Asia and Pakistan by land from Afghanistan.
According to a top U.S. State Department official, the schedule for the resumption of exhaust flights has not yet been established; Negotiations are underway with neighboring countries in this regard. The program document includes travel documents, travel permits and procedures for dealing with the Taliban and foreign governments.
“Once we have the right documents and logistics attached, we will start working again,” said a State Department spokesman quoted by the WSJ. The Taliban did not respond to a request for comment.
The Taliban are demanding passports from most Afghans, which is a problem for some because they fear they may retaliate for their cooperation with the Americans in arranging the documents. Some Afghans destroyed their documents after the Americans withdrew or had no access to them. The Taliban reopened the passport office and began handing out documents. However, some Afghans fear that applying for a passport could be retaliated against by the Taliban.
According to the WSJ, the US State Department plans to arrange several flights a week. There are U.S. plans to focus on evacuation efforts via Qatar, where exits end up at the Al Udeed base. Previously, Afghans were taken to several countries in the Middle East and Europe where appropriate screening procedures were carried out.
Priority access to flights departing from Afghanistan will be granted to U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents and their immediate family members. Other U.S. embassy staff and applicants who have worked in the United States and passed most security checks will also be eligible for these flights.
The US State Department estimates that less than 200 Americans will return home to Afghanistan in September; NGOs say there is more.
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