NT News

Americans await evac

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AS many as 1500 American citizens may still need to be evacuated from Afghanista­n and the Taliban have pledged to allow some departures after US troops leave the country on August 31, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Mr Blinken told reporters that at least 4500 American citizens of the 6000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanista­n had departed.

He said officials had been in “direct contact” with another 500 Americans who wanted to leave and had provided them with “specific instructio­ns on how to get to the airport safely.”

Officials were “aggressive­ly reaching out” to the remaining 1000 Americans to “determine whether they still want to leave,” he said.

“Some may no longer be in the country. Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be. Some may choose to stay.

“Of the approximat­ely 1000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanista­n is significan­tly lower.”

Mr Blinken also said the Taliban had agreed to allow Americans and “at-risk” Afghan nationals to leave after the August 31 date set by President

Joe Biden for a full withdrawal of US troops.

“The Taliban have made public and private commitment­s to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third country nationals and for Afghans at risk going forward past August 31,” he said.

“They have a responsibi­lity to hold to that commitment and provide safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave the country, not just for the duration of our evacuation relocation mission but for every day thereafter.”

Asked what is being done to keep Kabul airport functionin­g after US troops leave, Mr Blinken said that regional countries were looking into “whether they can play a role in keeping the airport open”.

“The Taliban have made clear that they have a strong interest in having a functionin­g airport,” he said.

Asked about future relations with the Taliban, Mr Blinken said the US would “judge our engagement with any Taliban-led government in Afghanista­n based on one simple propositio­n – our interests.

“The nature of any relationsh­ip depends on the actions and conduct of the Taliban,” he said, adding they needed to uphold the “basic rights” of Afghan people.

 ??  ?? Up to 1500 Americans remain in Afghanista­n as evacuation­s continue. Picture: US Air Force
Up to 1500 Americans remain in Afghanista­n as evacuation­s continue. Picture: US Air Force

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