A Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday carrying 28 U.S. citizens and seven U.S. permanent residents, the latest departure from the country now under Taliban control.
In a statement, State Department spokesperson Ned Price thanked Qatari authorities, who are coordinating flights out of the country, and acknowledged the role of the Taliban.
“The international community welcomes the Taliban’s cooperation on these flights, and we will continue our engagement so that U.S. citizens and Afghans enjoy full freedom of movement,” Price said.
“We will continue to help U.S. citizens and Afghans affiliated with the U.S. government to depart Afghanistan,” he added.
The Biden administration, after sticking to its Aug. 31 deadline to withdraw forces from the country, has faced pressure to make sure that U.S. citizens and others who helped the U.S. government — and who want to leave Afghanistan — aren’t left behind with no way out.
An Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press, said more than 300 foreign nationals, as well as U.S. green card holders and Afghans with special visas, departed the country in the last week.
“Grateful that more Americans were able to leave today on a Qatar Airways flight. We welcome this development,” U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a tweet.
“As President Biden said, there is no deadline for Americans remaining in Afghanistan. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come home,” he added.
The first flight to leave Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal flew out of Hamid Karzai International Airport on Sept. 9 with 200 passengers, some of whom were Americans. Several chartered flights and a few commercial flights have also taken off since then, according to the AP.