The first passenger flight to leave Afghanistan since the frenzied U.S. military evacuation ended late last month arrived in Doha, the Qatari capital, on Thursday with more than 100 foreigners, including Americans, aboard, and Biden administration officials said they expected more such flights in coming days.
“We can confirm that flight has safely landed in Qatar,” Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that expressed gratitude to the Qatari government for sending the plane and facilitating the flight.
The statement also offered a measured assessment of coordination with the Taliban, who have resumed control of the country after a 20-year war with the United States and its allies.
“The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA,” the statement said, referring to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. “They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort. This is a positive first step.”
At a news conference earlier in the day at the airport, Dr. Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, a Qatari special envoy, said the passengers would head to their final destinations after reaching Qatar. He called the resumption of flights from Kabul “a historic day in the history of Afghanistan,” and said another passenger flight was expected to depart on Friday.
The Taliban has blamed the Americans for delays in letting people fly out, and said that as U.S. forces left last week, they rendered the radar and other equipment at the Kabul airport inoperable. Engineers from Qatar, alongside workers from Turkey, have been
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