Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Taliban to stop blocking charter flights leaving the Kabul airport after previously denying that Americans and Afghan allies were being kept from departing Afghanistan.
“Those flights need to be able to leave, and the United States government, State Department – we are doing everything we can to help make that happen,” Blinken said during a news conference at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Wednesday.
He also cited complications at the Kabul airport because of the combination of people seeking to depart.
“Those flights need to move. I pointed out some of the complications that are there, but those flights need to move,” Blinken said.
“It’s my understanding that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document, but they have said that those without valid documents at this point can’t leave — but because all of these people are grouped together, that’s meant that flights have not been allowed to go,” he said.
A leaked email reported by Fox News showed the State Department had blocked private rescues from Afghanistan.
Operators of privately sponsored rescue flights are also pointing at the State Department, saying it is the sole barrier to getting Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan.
White House officials have pushed back against that accusation.
The outlet reported that others it interviewed but did not name also blamed the State Department.
“This is zero place to be negotiating with American lives,” Fox News quoted one individual as saying.
“If one life is lost as a result of this, the blood is on the White House’s hands. The blood is on their hands. It is not the Taliban that is holding this up — as much as it sickens me to say that — it is the United States government,” the individual said.
Rescue flights seeking to land at al-Udeid airbase in Doha, Qatar, where military evacuations landed, need the State Department’s approval, Fox News reported.
“It is imperative that we get into Doha where there [are] other refugee centers,” Clay said. “That is where I’ve asked for clearance.”
“We’re in constant contact with Americans who remain in Afghanistan and may still wish to leave,” he told reporters, but then seemed to put the blame back on them by saying, as President Joe Biden did last week, that the citizens had received 19 notices since the spring “encouraging and then urging them to leave.”
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 3, 2021
The series of decisions that the Biden administration has made regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal has been criticized by many lawmakers. More than three dozen GOP leaders have called for Biden’s resignation or impeachment.
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