Blinken says Taliban are blocking charter flights from departing Afghanistan
Blinken's comments come after he denied the Taliban was creating 'any hostage-like situation' on Tuesday
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday called on the Taliban to stop blocking charter flights containing Americans from departing Afghanistan.
The State Department has come under fire for not doing more to pressure the Taliban to allow planes to leave Afghanistan amid reports several planes carrying Americans have been stuck at Mazar-i-Sharif International Airport.
Blinken said during a news conference Wednesday at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany that the U.S. government has "made clear" to the Taliban that "these charters need to be able to depart."
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"Those flights need to be able to leave, and the United States government, State Department – we are doing everything we can to help make that happen," he said. "Those flights need to move. I pointed out some of the complications that are there, but those flights need to move."
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Blinken’s comments came after he confirmed Tuesday that the State Department had identified a "relatively" small number of Americans trying to evacuate from Mazar-e-Sharif, but he denied the Taliban was creating "any hostage-like situation."
"It's my understanding that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document, but they have said that those without valid documents at this point can't leave – but because all of these people are grouped together, that's meant that flights have not been allowed to go," he said.