Taliban isn’t letting charter flights leave Afghanistan, officials say

Multiple planes that are ready to take American citizens and green card holders out of the country are being denied permission to leave by the Taliban, congressional and NGO sources told CBS News. Excerpts of an email from the State Department to members of congress viewed by CBS News acknowledged that charter flights are still…

Taliban isn’t letting charter flights leave Afghanistan, officials say

Numerous aircrafts that are prepared to take American residents and permit holders out of the nation are being rejected consent to leave by the Taliban, congressional and NGO sources informed CBS News.

Excerpts of an e-mail from the State Department to members of congress seen by CBS News acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip in northern Afghanistan and have approval to land in Doha “if and when the Taliban accepts departure.”

” The Taliban is essentially holding them captive to get more out of the Americans,” a senior congressional source informed CBS News.

The group Ascend, an NGO that teaches girls management through sports, informed CBS News they have 2 aircrafts that have actually been waiting on 6 days prepared to take in between 600 and 1200 individuals– consisting of 19 American people and 2 long-term homeowners.

CBS News has actually not had the ability to support those numbers, however 3 other sources verified there are Americans in the location waiting to leave through charter flights.

The airplanes are not presently filled. The travelers are being held close by, since the Taliban will not let them into the airport, according to a senior congressional source.

” The U.S. airfield in Qatar that has actually been waiting, all set to get, is now starting to evacuate,” Marina LeGree, the group’s executive director, informed CBS News. “We hope presence will include pressure to require a service. 6 days of talks are not motivating.”

The State Department encouraged members of Congress to inform groups looking for to leave out of Mazar-i-Sharif that the federal government “does not have workers on the ground in Mazar, we do not have air possessions in the nation, and we do not manage the airspace.”

” It is a Taliban choice to ground flights in Mazar-i-Sharif,” the e-mail stated. “We are, nevertheless, supplying assistance and support to the degree possible– and with a focus on security– to personal entities working out of Mazar.”

Congressional and NGO sources informed CBS news there are at least 2 physical aircrafts on the ground and 6 more with authorized clearance. The barrier is the Taliban, which manages the airport and is not letting individuals board or the airplanes remove.

” We had 6 aircrafts at the airport, 6 aircrafts with American residents on them as I speak, likewise with these interpreters and the Taliban is holding them captive for needs today,” Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, informed Fox News on Sunday.

The State Department informed members of Congress it would continue to “keep track of” the Taliban grounding of flights and deal with legislators on the problem. In a declaration to CBS News, the department repeated that “we do not have workers on the ground, we do not have air possessions in the nation, we do not manage the airspace– whether over Afghanistan or somewhere else in the area.”

” Given these restraints, we likewise do not have a trustworthy ways to verify the standard information of charter flights, including who might be arranging them, the variety of U.S. people and other concern groups on-board, the precision of the remainder of the manifest, and where they prepare to land, amongst lots of other concerns,” the department included.

Nevertheless, the department stated it “will hold the Taliban to its promise to let individuals easily leave Afghanistan,” including that “the whole worldwide neighborhood is concentrated on whether they measure up to their dedications.”

Margaret Brennan contributed reporting.

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