Taliban blocks Afghans from reaching Kabul airport opposite to commitments

The Taliban is reportedly blocking Afghans from reaching Kabul’s worldwide airport to flee the nation, breaking their commitments to the U.S., a Biden administration official stated Wednesday.

That acknowledgement at a press briefing got here shortly after the U.S. Embassy in Kabul alerted people there that it “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport for the capital metropolis, the place Islamist militants had overthrown the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities with astonishing pace.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman speaks on the scenario in Afghanistan on the State Division in Washington, DC, August 18, 2021.

Andrew Harnik | Pool through Reuters

“We’ve got seen reviews that the Taliban, opposite to their public statements and their commitments to our authorities, are blocking Afghans who want to depart the nation from reaching the airport,” Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stated on the briefing Wednesday afternoon.

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The U.S. army in Kabul and a staff in Qatar are “partaking instantly with the Taliban to clarify that we anticipate them to permit all Americans, all third-country nationals and all Afghans who want to depart, to take action safely and with out harassment,” Sherman stated.

She added that “up to now, it seems that the Taliban’s dedication for secure passage for Individuals has been strong,” although she famous that she would not learn about “each case.”

However Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin acknowledged Wednesday that the army at the moment lacks the aptitude to securely escort Individuals in Kabul to the airport for evacuation.

“I haven’t got the aptitude to exit and lengthen operations at the moment into Kabul,” Austin stated.

About 2,000 individuals have been evacuated up to now 24 hours, Sherman stated, with greater than 4,840 processed for evacuation over the previous couple of days.

Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood within the metropolis of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.

Rahmat Gul | AP

The Biden administration has come beneath intensifying criticism over the chaos in Afghanistan, the place the Taliban have seized management simply weeks earlier than the U.S. ends its army presence there after practically twenty years of struggle.

Even President Joe Biden’s Democratic allies have referred to as for investigations into the federal government’s dealing with of the withdrawal.

The insurgents’ fast advance caught the U.S. off guard, prompting scenes of panic at Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport as 1000’s of Afghans rushed the tarmac, with some clinging to airplanes at the same time as they took off.

About 4,500 U.S. troops had been deployed to the airport to facilitate the evacuation. Some troops have reportedly fired warning pictures into the air, intending to regulate the crowds of arrivals.

“The occasions and pictures of the final week have been wrenching for all of us,” Sherman stated on the briefing, describing the scenario as “enormously difficult and fluid.”

“That is an all-hands-on-deck effort, and we aren’t going to let up,” she stated.

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Sherman was additionally requested a couple of safety alert despatched earlier Wednesday from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which warned that “U.S. government-provided flights are departing” and that every one U.S. residents and lawful residents, in addition to their spouses and single kids beneath 21 years previous, “ought to contemplate travelling to Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport.”

However, the alert stated in all capital letters, the U.S. “can not guarantee secure passage” to the airport.

Sherman stated she had up to now seen no reviews of Individuals being “harassed or hustled,” or blocked from attending to the airport.