U.S. 'working closely' with partners to resume regular evacuation flights out of Afghanistan

·2 min read
Afghan evacuees.
Afghan evacuees. KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. State Department plans to resume regular evacuation flights out of Afghanistan before the end of the year, or "as soon as we have the right combination of documentation and logistics," said a senior department official to The Wall Street Journal.

Since the U.S. occupation ended on Aug. 31, over 200 U.S. citizens and residents have left Afghanistan on charter flights, since Kabul's international aiport is still closed to regular air travel.

"Our goal is to accelerate the pace of these ongoing charter flights, and we are working closely with our partners to do that," added a second official.

Additional flights will help residents, some visa applicants, and the small number of remaining U.S. citizens leave the country, and "will require coordination with the Taliban and other governments," explained the first official.

There is no scheduled date for which flights will resume because the State Department is "still working through arrangements with neighboring countries," writes the Journal, like traveler documentation and flight permissions.

"As soon as we have the right combination of documentation and logistics, we will get going again," said the first senior State Department official.

Eventually, the U.S. would like to "run several flights a week," and "plans to centralize its evacuation efforts through Qatar," says the Journal.

Special Immigrant Visa applicants will be eligible for seats on the flights, so long as they've completed the required procedural steps. Other at-risk Afghans, like female judges or government workers, will not qualify for flights under the current plan, adds the Journal.

Said the first department official: "I think we're prepared to do this for the foreseeable future, that is certainly the reason for reorganizing the overall effort."

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