The State Department said Thursday that the United States has no plans to resume military-led evacuation flights from Afghanistan, but is working to ensure existing charter flights take place more frequently.
“The idea that we are restarting evacuation flights, which we had before August 31, is not correct,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that Washington would resume evacuation flights before the end of the year, citing an unnamed State Department official.
“Charter flights have been regular,” Price said. “Our goal is to lend a degree of automation to these tasks to make them even more routine so that we can facilitate the departure of Americans, lawful permanent residents and others.”
The United States’ two-decade-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August that evacuated more than 124,000 civilians, including Americans, Afghans and others, after the Taliban came to power. But thousands of other US-affiliated Afghans were left behind under the threat of Taliban persecution.
President Joe Biden and others in his administration have vowed to continue efforts to oust him.
A few hundred people have been evacuated from charter flights, organized by veterans’ groups, and some facilitated by the United States. Washington has also helped some people leave Afghanistan by underground routes.
Price said that since August 31, the United States has facilitated the departure of 129 US citizens and 115 lawful permanent residents.
“Our goal is to see, working with our partners, that these flights become even more regular,” he said.
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