The Taliban is preventing multiple flights from taking off from the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, CBS News reports.
An email from the State Department to members of congress -- and viewed by CBS -- acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip and have permission to land in Doha "if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff. 2/
— Ruffini (@EenaRuffini) September 5, 2021
An NGO in Afghanistan said two planes have been ready to evacuate 600 to 1,200 people, including 19 American citizens and two permanent residents, for the past six days while the U.S. government and Taliban continue to talk.
The White House and State Department have maintained that they hold leverage over the Taliban, which will ensure the group cooperates and continues to allow people to leave Afghanistan, but a senior congressional source told CBS News that the Taliban is basically holding the planes "hostage" so they can "get more out of the Americans."
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, agrees. He told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that he's concerned that U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will come away from the talks recommending that the Biden administration acknowledge the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan. There are no indications that will be the case, however.
— Pat Ward (@WardDPatrick) September 5, 2021