A flight with American citizens and lawful permanent residents that departed Afghanistan on Thursday safely landed in Qatar, the White House confirmed, adding that the Taliban was “cooperative” in the effort.
The flight which departed Kazul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport was chartered through Qatar Airways. The White House said the State Department would provide an “accurate” number of how many passengers were on the flight later Thursday.
“We are deeply grateful to the continued efforts of Qatar in facilitating operations at HKIA and helping to ensure the safety of these charter flights,” National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement Thursday. “We have been working intensely across the U.S. government to ensure the accuracy of the manifest and the safe departure and transit of the aircraft, and today’s safe flight is the result of careful and hard diplomacy and engagement.”
Horne added that the Taliban “have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA.”
Horne spoke positively of the Taliban, saying they have “shown flexibility.” “They have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort,” Horne added. “This is a positive first step.”
Horne said the administration will “continue these efforts to facilitate the safe and orderly travel of American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghans who worked for us and wish to leave Afghanistan.”
“Because there is an ongoing terrorist threat to operations of this nature, we will not be sharing details of these efforts before people are safely out of the country,” Horne said.
The Biden administration has brought more than 6,000 American citizens and lawful permanent residents home to the United States under what the White House describes as “Operation Allies Welcome” thus far.
“As President Biden has said, if you are an American citizen who wants to leave Afghanistan, there is no deadline,” Horne added. “We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.”