US says Taliban 'business-like and professional' in Afghan evacuation

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The US praised Taliban assistance in facilitating flights from Afghanistan.
  • A chartered Qatar Airways flight left Kabul with 21 Americans on board.
  • 100 Americans are still believed to be in Afghanistan.


The US on Thursday praised the Taliban as business-like and co-operative in facilitating the first evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan since the US military withdrawal.

The departure from Kabul to Doha on a chartered Qatar Airways flight on Thursday marked "a positive first step" with the new regime, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said.

"The Taliban have been co-operative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA," she said in a statement, referring to Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport.

"They have shown flexibility, and they have been business-like and professional in our dealings with them in this effort."

FEATURE | Afghans fear for jobs and money after Taliban takeover

Nearly 40 US citizens or permanent residents were invited to board the flight but only 21 were on board, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a tweet late on Thursday.

"Of course we would like to see more such flights," he had said earlier. "We have heard public statements that more, in fact, may be forthcoming."

'Wrenching' decisions

READ | US 'concerned' by Taliban government - Blinken to consult partners

The US had previously said that a little more than 100 Americans were believed to remain in Afghanistan after President Joe Biden ended the 20-year military mission in August.

Price said that most Americans remaining had connections in Afghanistan and had to make "wrenching" decisions on whether to leave and did not need to decide now.

"This opportunity doesn't expire if they turn it down one day, if they change their mind the next or even next year," Price said.

A round-the-clock airlift in the final two weeks of the war shuttled more than 123 000 people, including most Americans in Afghanistan.

Horne said the US "facilitated" Thursday's departure of Americans from Afghanistan and thanked Qatar for its role in the effort.

"We have been working intensely" to ensure the safe departure, and the flight is the result of "careful and hard diplomacy and engagement", she said.

The flight comes two days after Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Qatar, the transit point for around half of the people airlifted from Afghanistan.

Biden and his administration have come under fierce criticism for having left Americans at the mercy of the Taliban.

Representative Mike Waltz and Senator Lindsey Graham, both fierce Republican critics of the withdrawal, welcomed the Qatari flight.

But they added in a joint statement that "it was inexcusable that the Biden administration allowed a terrorist regime to dictate the terms of allowing Americans to leave on their own with their families."

"The United States does not take orders from terrorists," they said.

Former president Donald Trump's administration reached the agreement with the Taliban to withdraw troops and froze efforts to let Afghan allies immigrate to the US.

Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
32% - 2304 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 2722 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
31% - 2212 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.67
-0.6%
Rand - Pound
20.14
-0.3%
Rand - Euro
17.03
-0.6%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.88
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.5%
Gold
1,764.45
-0.2%
Silver
23.20
-0.5%
Palladium
2,019.35
-2.9%
Platinum
1,038.50
-1.9%
Brent Crude
84.86
+1.0%
Top 40
60,221
-0.5%
All Share
66,792
-0.4%
Resource 10
63,626
-1.1%
Industrial 25
84,496
-0.4%
Financial 15
14,073
+0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE