The Taliban interim government have agreed to allow 200 Americans and other foreigners to depart on charter flights from Kabul airport, a U.S. official said.
The Taliban were pressed to allow the departures by U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, said the official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity on Thursday.
The departures were expected on Thursday, and an exact breakdown of how many US citizens and people from other nations will be on the flight has not been shared.
The official could not say whether these Americans and third-country nationals were among people who have been stranded for days in Mazar-i-Sharif 260 miles north of Kabul on charter flights that were barred from taking off.
Planes chartered to carry people out of Afghanistan have been stuck at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport, with some organizers saying the State Department was not doing enough to facilitate their departure.
The criticism came after an email leak suggested that the agency prevented several private flights from leaving Afghanistan with U.S. citizens and Afghan allies on board.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday went on a charm offensive, saying the Taliban was to blame for the standoff and calling on the militants to allow the charter flights to depart from Afghanistan.
Blinken said the United States was doing everything in its power to get the flights off the ground, but the Taliban was not permitting the flights to depart.
‘We’ve made clear to all parties, we’ve made clear to the Taliban that these charters need to be able to depart,’ Blinken said at a press conference in Germany.