Taliban agreed to allow Americans, at-risk Afghans to leave after August 31, says Blinken

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Washington [US], August 26 (ANI): The Taliban has committed to ensuring safe passage for Americans and at-risk Afghans to leave the war-torn country after the August 31 US withdrawal deadline, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday (local time).

Speaking at a press briefing, Blinken said: "The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, for third-country nationals, and Afghans at risk going forward past August 31."

"The United States, our allies and partners, and more than half of the world's countries 114 at all issued a statement, making it clear the Taliban that they have a responsibility to hold to that commitment and provide safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave the country, not just for the duration of our evacuation relocation mission, but for every day thereafter," he added.

Blinken also said that there is 'no deadline' on helping US citizens and Afghan nationals 'who stood by us' to leave Afghanistan after August 31.

"There is no deadline on our work to help any remaining American citizens who decide they want to leave to do so, along with many Afghans who have stood by us over these many years, and want to leave, and have been unable to do so. That effort will continue, every day, past August 31." he said.

"Approximately, 19,000 people were evacuated on 90 US military and coalition flights, only the United States could organize and execute a mission to this scale," Blinken added.

"We're operating in a hostile environment in the city and country now controlled by the Taliban, with the very real possibility of an ISIS key attack. We're taking every precaution. But this is very high risk." he also said.

Meanwhile, US has evacuated 4500 out of 6000 American citizens identified in Afghanistan.

"The Taliban have made public and private commitments to provide and permit safe passage for Americans, third-country nationals and the Afghans at risk, going forward past August 31," Blinken said.

Blinken also said that the US has managed to safely evacuate over 82,300 people out of Kabul airport since mid-August.

Yesterday, US President Joe Biden made it clear to the G7 leaders that US is "on pace" to finish its withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31 but with each day of operations on the ground, American troops are facing increasing threats from ISIS-Khorasan, according to a White House statement.

Earlier, Biden had informed that he is in discussions with his military officials regarding the extension of the evacuation mission in Afghanistan, beyond the August 31 deadline.

The US is flying thousands of people out of Afghanistan every day from Kabul airport. The US forces took control of the airport last week to evacuate its citizens after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan. (ANI)

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