“As of now, the Taliban are not permitting the charter flights to depart,” Blinken told reporters Wednesday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
- The Biden administration has repeatedly said the Taliban’s desire for acceptance in the international community and access to global markets would put pressure on Kabul to behave in accordance with Washington’s expectations.
- Blinken, who denied that there is “any hostage-like situation in Mazar-e-Sharif” in a separate press conference Tuesday, put rhetorical pressure on the Taliban while touting the State Department’s work to address other problems.
- “Many of these flights have been organized by NGOs are individuals who have a deeply felt desire to help people … but there’s also a risk of people looking to extort money from desperate and vulnerable people, which, of course, we want to prevent,” Blinken said. “Additionally, some of the groups claiming to have all of the documentations and arrangements locked down, unfortunately, don’t — often for good reason. But, this creates further complications.”
- The Taliban has refused to allow the departure of people who have “valid” U.S. travel documents, Blinken said Tuesday, creating an impediment for groups of Americans or Afghan visa holders who are traveling with people who do not have such documents. Taliban officials worry that educated Afghans are going to flee in droves, taking with them the skills that the militant group needs to run the country in the absence of U.S. forces and contractors.