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Taliban to allow 200 Americans and other civilians to leave Afghanistan today

Some 1,000 people were previously said to be stuck at an airport in Afghanistan amid claims the Taliban was keeping them “hostage until their demands “are met”.

The evacuation effort had ended. File photo

The Taliban will allow 200 US and other civilians to leave Afghanistan on chartered flights today, a US official has said.

The confirmation comes nine days after the final deadline for the US evacuation of the country lapsed.

Some 1,000 people are said to be stuck at an airport in Afghanistan amid claims the Taliban was keeping them “hostage until their demands “are met”.

An unmade source blamed the US State Department over its failure to tell the Taliban of its approval for flight departures from the airport or validate a landing site.

Now, the Taliban have allowed some of the evacuations after being pressed by US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The departures were expected on Thursday.



The Taliban gathered on the street during a Kabul rally to mark the August 31 deadline
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)




The official could not say whether they were among people stranded for days in Mazar-i-Sharif because their private charters have not been allowed to depart.

The last military aircraft left Hamid Karzai International airport at about midnight on August 31.

At the time one official said: “Final plane is wheels up. War is over.”



There were chaotic scenes during the evacuation at the airport last month
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)




Marine General Frank McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, went on to warn some US citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan remain in the country following the departure.

He said: “There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure. We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.



A powerful image captured the moment a woman stared down a Taliban fighter
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Image:

REUTERS)




“But I think if we’d stayed another 10 days, we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out.”

The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on the final departure day: “Congratulations to Afghanistan… this victory belongs to us all.”

“We want to have good relations with the US and the world. We welcome good diplomatic relations with them all,” he added.









Scenes of chaos in Afghanistan have been ongoing since the Taliban retook control of the country last month as US troops withdrew.

Protests have rocked the capital city and a powerful image emerged showing a woman bravely stare down the barrel of a gun being held by a Taliban fighter in Kabul.

We’ll be bringing you the very latest updates, pictures and video on this breaking news story.




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