U.S. Citizens and Afghans Wait for Evacuation Flights From Country’s North

Around 1,000 individuals, together with dozens of American residents and Afghans holding visas to the United States or different nations, remained caught in Afghanistan for the fifth day on Sunday, awaiting clearance from the Taliban for departure, reflecting the challenges of working with the group, which has but to kind a authorities.

Negotiations to permit the planes to depart, involving officers of the Taliban, the United States and Qatar, have dragged on for days, leaving the evacuees in an more and more precarious limbo, in line with representatives of organizations attempting to get them to security.

The plight of the passengers hoping to depart the nation from the airport within the northern metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif mirrors that of hundreds of evacuees who had been unable to board planes from Kabul, the capital, after Taliban rebels took the town on the eve of the U.S. troop withdrawal.

The American pullout and the tip of the two-decade conflict in Afghanistan had been overshadowed by chaotic efforts to airlift tens of hundreds of Americans and their allies fleeing the Islamist fighters, who many concern will restrict the rights of girls and others as soon as they formally return to energy.

The Biden administration has confronted criticism for leaving many behind in Kabul after the ultimate troops left on Aug. 30.

Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, informed Fox News Sunday that the Taliban had been stopping six airplanes carrying American residents from leaving.

“State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” Mr. McCaul mentioned, including that he believed the issue was “turning into a hostage situation.”

Mr. McCaul mentioned the Taliban needed “something in exchange” for approving takeoff of the plans. He mentioned he believed what they had been in search of was “full recognition from the United States of America.”

But the State Department and organizers on the bottom in Qatar countered Mr. McCaul’s description of the state of affairs, saying that the planes had acquired vital clearance and had been awaiting closing approval from the Taliban.

“The Taliban are not holding the planes hostage,” mentioned Eric Montalvo, a former main with the U.S. Marines who’s immediately concerned in organizing the flights.

According to paperwork reviewed by The New York Times, the U.S. navy authorized three flights to take about 1,000 evacuees, together with dozens of American residents, to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Qatar additionally offered diplomatic clearance for the flights to land there, and the manifests have been vetted by the U.S. navy, the State Department and Qatar, however want Taliban approval to depart Mazar-i-Sharif.

“If and when the Taliban agrees to take off, we are tracking that the landing sites will be prepared to accept the expected flights,” the State Department mentioned in an e-mail to congressional officers that was reviewed by The New York Times. It added that the United States not managed the airspace over Afghanistan.

“It is a Taliban decision to ground flights in Mazar-i-Sharif,” the e-mail mentioned. “We are, however, providing guidance and assistance to the extent possible — and with an emphasis on safety — to private entities working out of Mazar.”

Reporting was contributed by Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Lara Jakes, Luke Broadwater and Julian E. Barnes.