White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Sunday that there are approximately 100 Americans remaining in Afghanistan as Qatar is working with the Taliban to allow flights out of the Kabul airport.
“We believe it’s around a hundred. We’re in touch with all of them who we’ve identified on a regular basis,” Klain told CNN. He said the Biden administration is “hopeful that in the coming days the Qataris will be able to resume air service out of Kabul.”
On Saturday, Qatar’s ambassador to Afghanistan said the Kabul airport was reopened to receive aid and domestic flights. Klain said once international flights are able to leave from Kabul, the US is “going to look to see if Americans can be part of those flights.” He said that some of the US citizens are also leaving Afghanistan by land.
In the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif there is an operational airport where hundreds of Afghans are waiting for clearance to leave on chartered airplanes. Some reports say a few dozen Americans are in the group. Several charter planes at the Mazar-i-Sharif airport have been unable to take off for days, and it’s unclear why the Taliban haven’t cleared them to leave.
Hawks in the US are blaming the Taliban for the delay in Mazar-i-Sharif. But an Afghan source told The Associated Press that many of the Afghans trying to leave the country do not have the proper visas or passports. And for the time being, the would-be passengers have left the airport while the situation is being sorted out.