Taliban Allows Plane Carrying Americans and Other Foreign Nationals Leave Kabul Airport

People board a Qatar Airways aircraft at the airport in Kabul, Sept. 9, 2021. Some 200 passengers, including Americans, flew out of Afghanistan on an international commercial flight from Kabul airport on Sept. 9, 2021, the first such large-scale departure since U.S and foreign forces withdrew from Afghanistan. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Afghanistan‘s Taliban authorities have allowed a flight carrying Americans and other foreign nationals to fly out of Kabul, U.S. and Qatari officials said on Thursday. The departure of the plane, which landed safely in Doha, Qatar, marked the airport’s first such flight since U.S. forces withdrew from the country.

The group of about 115 passengers, including about 20 Americans and their families as well as other Westerners, departed on a Qatar Airways flight that had earlier ferried humanitarian aid to the country, officials said. From the tarmac at Kabul international airport, Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, a Qatari special envoy, said the flight would leave with Americans and Westerners.

“Call it what you want, a charter or a commercial flight, everyone has tickets and boarding passes,” he said, adding that another commercial flight would take off on Friday. “Hopefully, life is becoming normal in Afghanistan.”

The Qatari officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the formal announcement, put the number of U.S. nationals on the flight at 100-150, but a U.S. official told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan that the Taliban had agreed to let 200 people leave in total, including Americans and “other foreigners.”

The official said the U.S. was pressing the Taliban to let more people leave this week, but that no agreement had yet been reached about a group of Americans and Afghans stranded in Mazar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul.

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SOURCE: CBS News

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