DOHA, Qatar — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the State Department is working with the Taliban to facilitate additional charter flights from Kabul for people seeking to leave Afghanistan after the American military and diplomatic departure.
"We're holding the Taliban to the commitments that they've made to ensure the free passage and safe travel for anyone who wants to leave Afghanistan, starting with any American citizens who wish to do so, Afghans who worked for us, including the special immigrant visa applicants or visa holders, other Afghans at risk," Blinken said.
Blinken was speaking Tuesday at a joint news conference with Qatar’s top diplomats and defense officials. He said the U.S. has been in contact with the Taliban “in recent hours” to work out arrangements for additional charter flights from the Afghan capital.
Blinken said the Taliban have given assurances of safe passage for all seeking to leave Afghanistan with proper travel documents. He added that he's not aware of people being denied access to leave if they have the proper travel documents.
Blinken said the United States believes there are “somewhere around 100” American citizens still in Afghanistan who want to leave. The State Department had previously put that estimate at between 100 and 200.
Blinken and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in Qatar to thank the Gulf Arab state for its help with the transit of tens of thousands of people evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of Kabul on Aug. 15.