UncategorizedAfghanistan Live Updates: Taliban Will Allow Americans and Other Foreigner to Leave Country

Afghanistan Live Updates: Taliban Will Allow Americans and Other Foreigner to Leave Country


Members of the Taliban last month at the Kabul airport. Three flights from Persian Gulf nations were said to have landed at the airport on Thursday.
Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Foreigners stranded in Afghanistan since the frenzied U.S. military evacuation late last month arrived at the airport in Kabul on Thursday, documents in hand, with their departure seemingly assured as the Taliban said that people with the proper papers — including American passport holders — were free to leave.

A U.S. official familiar with the negotiations who spoke only on the condition of anonymity said that about 200 people had been cleared to depart and that they included Americans and other third-country nationals.

Bilal Karimi, a close aide to the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said that three flights from Persian Gulf nations had landed at the airport and that more were expected. They arrived with desperately needed humanitarian aid, Mr. Karimi said, and would be allowed to take off when technical issues involving the radar at the airport had been resolved.

Taliban and foreign officials said that Afghans with dual citizenship would also be allowed to leave.

Passengers — including scores of Canadians, and a handful of U.S. and British citizens — were being checked in for a flight that flew in from Qatar this morning and was expected to depart later on Thursday.

Safi, 42, from Toronto, was among those passing through security and planning to board a waiting Boeing 777.

He said that he had tried to leave during the evacuation but had given up as chaos enveloped the streets outside the airport.

“Things are good,” said Safi, who only identified himself by his first name. “It seems the authorities are keeping their promises.”

While the move is the first step in resolving a diplomatic impasse that has left scores of Americans and other international workers stranded in Afghanistan, there was no indication that the Taliban would allow the tens of thousands of Afghans who qualify for emergency American visas to leave.

It also remained unclear whether charter flights from the airport in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where dozens of Americans and hundreds of Afghans were waiting to leave the country, would be allowed to fly.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday at the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the Taliban bore the entire blame for the inability of charter flights to leave Mazar-i-Sharif.

“The Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart,” Mr. Blinken said. “They claim that some of the passengers do not have the required documentation. While there are limits to what we can do without personnel on the ground without an airport with normal security procedures in place, we are going to do everything in our power to support those flights and to get them off the ground.”

Credit…Pool photo by Olivier Douliery

The Taliban blamed the Americans for the delays and said that as U.S. forces left last week, they rendered the radar and other equipment at the Kabul airport inoperable.

Engineers from Qatar, alongside workers from Turkey, have been working to repair the damage and to come up with a security protocol that would allow international passenger flights to resume.

Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

While the West has treated the Taliban government warily, China has made cautious overtures to a potentially dangerous neighbor that Beijing is eager to influence.

In addition to welcoming the newly announced acting cabinet, China this week pledged to give $30 million in food and other aid to the new government in Afghanistan, as well as three million coronavirus vaccine doses.

Speaking on Wednesday to a meeting of officials from Afghanistan’s neighbors, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, blamed the United States for the situation in the troubled country. But in a sign of China’s competing priorities, he also urged the Taliban to contain terrorist groups and asked Afghanistan’s neighbors to share intelligence and tighten border controls. The meeting included officials from Iran, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

While China has held back from full recognition of the Taliban government, it has cautiously begun a charm offensive. In July, weeks before the fall of the Afghan government, China played host to a delegation from the Taliban, including the chief of the group’s political office. The meeting led the Taliban to call China “a good friend.”

With the United States and Europe having suspended aid, the cash-strapped Taliban have looked to deep-pocketed countries like China for investment. For its part, China has left open the prospect of full recognition, even as it has told the United States to take a leading role in providing economic assistance.

“We should make an objective assessment of the history of the Afghan issue and call on the United States and its allies to learn profound lessons and assume their due responsibilities on the Afghan issue,” Mr. Wang was quoted as saying by the Chinese government.

China shares a roughly 50-mile border in its west with Afghanistan’s remote Wakhan Corridor. Chinese officials have worried for years about foreign influence among its Muslim minorities living in the area, and it has responded harshly to dissent there, interning hundreds of thousands of members of the Uyghur ethnic group in re-education camps.

There is currently no timetable for China to recognize the Taliban, and the offer of aid is more of a stopgap to alleviate Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis than a signal of future support, said Zhu Yongbiao, the director of the center for Afghanistan studies at Lanzhou University in China.

He said he expected further caution from China, which will watch to see whether the Taliban honors its commitments.

“The aid does not represent recognition of the Taliban,” he said, adding, “China is particularly concerned about whether the Taliban can cut ties with Al Qaeda, as well as protect ethnic minorities, women’s rights and fulfill its promises.”

Li You contributed research.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Afghanistan’s new acting prime minister, Mullah Muhammad Hassan, told Al Jazeera in an interview aired on Thursday that former officials who fled when the Taliban seized power last month should return to the country, saying the group would “guarantee their security and safety.”

Repeating earlier pledges made by the Taliban, he said anyone who had worked alongside the United States would be granted amnesty and had nothing to fear.

“No one will be able to prove that he was subjected to revenge,” Mr. Hassan said. “And in such tense circumstances, it is easy to do what you want. But the movement is disciplined and controls its gunmen.”

Those assurances have done little to ease the concerns of tens of thousands of Afghans who are watching as the Taliban tighten their control over the country.

Demonstrations against the government have been banned, and protests have been violently crushed.

“The Taliban have repeatedly insisted that they will respect human rights, yet these claims are completely at odds with what we are currently seeing and hearing in cities across the country,” Amnesty International said on Thursday in a statement. “Afghans who have taken to the streets, understandably fearful about the future, are being met with intimidation, harassment and violence — particularly directed at women. Multiple journalists attempting to cover the protests have reported being detained, beaten up and having their equipment confiscated.”

Mr. Hassan rejected those reports and said that the caretaker government would guarantee the security of diplomats, embassies and humanitarian relief institutions, stressing that the group wanted to establish positive and strong relations with countries in the region and beyond.

While the West has treated the Taliban government warily, China made cautious overtures to a potentially dangerous neighbor that Beijing is eager to influence.

In addition to welcoming the newly announced acting cabinet, China this week pledged to give $30 million in food and other aid to the new government in Afghanistan, as well as three million coronavirus vaccine doses.

Speaking on Wednesday to a meeting of officials from Afghanistan’s neighbors, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, blamed the United States for the situation in the troubled country. But in a sign of China’s competing priorities, he also urged the Taliban to contain terrorist groups and asked Afghanistan’s neighbors to share intelligence and tighten border controls. The meeting included officials from Iran, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

The Taliban should “construct broad and inclusive political structures, pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, and draw a clear line against terrorist forces,” Mr. Wang said, according to a Chinese government statement.



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