Reportedly, the Taliban is refusing to allow flights carrying stranded Americans and green cardholders. According to multiple sources, multiple planes ready to ferry stranded Americans out of the country have yet to receive permission to leave.
Flights To Resume If and When The Taliban Agrees
A State Department email shown by CBS News said that Qatar will approve evacuation flights out of Afghanistan “if and when the Taliban agrees”. The news agency also quotes a congressional source as saying that “the Taliban is basically holding them hostage to get more out of the Americans.”
Ascend, a non-governmental organization that teaches women leadership through sports shared their frustration. The group chartered two planes to fly out between 600 to 1,200 stranded Americans, green card holders, and refugees.
However, the planes still remain at the airport spent six days getting ready for takeoff. They have yet to receive clearance to fly out. A report said that the Ascend planes remain unloaded and idle.
Their passengers are staying at hotels nearby. According to a senior congressional source, the Taliban won’t allow them into the airport.
Taliban Holding People Hostage
Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) is a ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Earlier, he said during an interview that the Taliban is basically holding people who want to get out hostages. “Since we pulled out, how many Afghan allies have gotten out since the Taliban was in complete control of the country?”
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace asked. McCaul said “Zero. And, in fact, we have six airplanes at Mazar Sharif Airport, six airplanes with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now.
They — we — [the] state has cleared these flights and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport. So, I’m sorry, the answer to your question is zero. And that’s my concern is they’re going to demand more and more, whether it be cash or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan,” he said.
Taliban Demands Acceptance As Official Afghan Government
Wallace asked McCaul about the demands the Taliban is supposedly asking for. “Well, they are not — they are not clearing the airplanes to depart. They’ve sat at the airport for the last couple of days, these planes, and they’re not allowed to leave,” McCaul replied.
“We know the reason why is because the Taliban want something in exchange. This is really, Chris, turning into a hostage situation where they’re not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.
My concern is that Zalmay Khalilzad, [our] special envoy who’s met with the Taliban, they’re in talks right now, and I think — I worry his recommendation to the administration will be to recognize the Taliban as the official government of the United States, a Taliban organization that is a terrorist organization.”
Some Afghan Passengers Have No Papers
Meanwhile, an Afghan official claimed that some of the passengers were Afghans without visas or passports. This is a major reason the flights continue to get delayed.
The unnamed official said that the passengers left the airport while officials sorted things out and are now staying at nearby hotels. He insisted that the lack of the right travel papers prevented the flights from leaving.
None of the Afghan families had passports or visas. All claimed to work for companies allied with the US or German military.
Watch the NBC News video reporting that President Joe Biden is facing criticism over Americans, Afghans left behind In evacuation:
What do you think will happen to stranded Americans and other passengers who couldn’t get out of Afghanistan? In addition, what should the US government do?
Let us know what you think about the situation. Share your comments below.