The United States is working to verify the accuracy of the list of passengers aboard a charter plane carrying more than 100 US citizens and lawful permanent residents evacuated from Afghanistan, the State Department said on Wednesday, the flight’s organizers said. Said Washington denied it landing rights.
“Our embassy staff in the UAE are working round the clock to verify the accuracy of the passenger manifest and are coordinating with DHS/Customs and Border Protection to ensure that passengers are not allowed to board the flight. First they can be investigated and investigated by the United States,” a State Department spokesman said.
“We expect the passengers to continue their onward journey tomorrow morning,” the spokesman said.
Brian Stern, founder of the non-profit group Project Dynamo, said late Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Agency was halting a charter of entry into a US port on an international flight.
Stern spoke to Reuters on board a plane his group chartered from Kama Air, a private Afghan airline, which he said arrived at Abu Dhabi airport in the United Arab Emirates after arriving from Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital with 117 people. Hours were sitting. In which 59 children are on board.
The group is one of many that emerged from an ad hoc network of US military veterans, current and former US officials and others who viewed last month’s US evacuation operation as chaotic and badly organized.
“All flights to the US must follow established safety, security and health protocols before being cleared for departure,” a DHS spokesperson said. “This process requires the flight manifest to be verified prior to departure to the US to ensure proper screening of all passengers.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has said its top priority is to repatriate Americans and lawful permanent residents – known as green card holders – who were unable to leave Afghanistan in a US evacuation operation last month.
Stern said twenty-eight Americans, 83 green card holders and six people with US special immigration visas granted to Afghans who worked for the US government during the 20-year war in Afghanistan, were on board the Kama Air flight.
Stern had planned to transfer the passengers to a chartered Ethiopian Airlines plane for onward flight to the United States, which he said had been approved by the Customs Agency to land at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Stern said the agency changed the clearance for Dulles International Airport outside Washington before denying the plane the right to land anywhere in the United States.
“I have a big, beautiful, huge, huge Boeing 787 that I can see standing in front of me,” Stern said. “I have the crew. I have food.”
Stern said intermediaries in Kabul had obtained permission from the Taliban-run Afghan Civil Aviation Authority to send a charter flight for the groups to repatriate passengers from Kabul airport.
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