Sunday, September 26, 2021

U.S. urges Taliban to allow charter flights from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken urged the Taliban on Wednesday to allow charter flights to leave Afghanistan because aircraft carrying Americans and vulnerable Afghans were reportedly stranded at Mazar-e-Sharif International Airport.

“As of now, the Taliban do not allow charter flights to take off. They claim that some passengers do not have the required documents,” Brinken said at a press conference held at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany with German Foreign Minister Heikomas.

“The most important thing is: these charter flights need to be able to take off. We work hard every day to ensure that they can do this,” said the top US diplomat.

There are reports that American citizens and Afghans at risk are trapped at Mazar-e-Sharif Airport in northern Afghanistan. Some organizers of outbound flights have accused the State Department of not taking sufficient measures to facilitate their departure.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a tweet: “I am deeply frustrated and even angry at our government’s procrastination and inaction. There will be enough time to pursue the unforgivable that has caused many of our Afghan allies in trouble. The responsibility of bureaucratic red tape.”.

Washington is working with international partners to put pressure on the Taliban to fulfill its commitments to allow safe passage and free travel for anyone who chooses to leave Afghanistan.

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According to the State Department, the United States also has direct contact with individuals and the Taliban to facilitate cross-border travel.

On Wednesday, Brinken and Maas held talks with a group of partners and allies to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, including efforts to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the country after the Taliban took over.

Approximately 18 million Afghans need food, clean water, medical care and other emergency assistance, and winter is approaching. The United Nations is seeking a total of US$606 million to fund humanitarian operations through December.

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The virtual ministerial meeting with senior officials from 22 countries, NATO, the European Union and the United Nations was held one day after the Taliban announced the “caretaker” Islamic government led by Mullah Hassan Ahund, a close partner of the late founder of the Islamic movement Mullah Omar.

The new government led by the Taliban also includes Sirajuddin Haqqani as its interior minister. Haqqani is the head of the Haqqani network designated by the United States as a global terrorist organization.

On Wednesday, Mas said that the Taliban “announced the establishment of a transitional government without the involvement of other groups, and yesterday’s violence against demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not signs of optimism.”

Taliban forces shot into the air on Tuesday to disperse protesters, including dozens of women who marched in Kabul to protest against Taliban rule. Some protesters were beaten in the earlier demonstrations.

Brinken expressed concern about the lack of tolerance of the new Taliban government, saying that any legitimacy and support from the interim government should be won.

Brinken told reporters at a press conference in Germany on Wednesday: “The nature of the Taliban-led government’s relationship with us and the international community will depend entirely on its actions in the coming weeks and months.”

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U.S. urges Taliban to allow charter flights from Afghanistan
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