Taliban Bars Flights From Leaving, Claims Passengers Don't Have Proper Documentation

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban is barring flights from leaving Afghanistan because it claims that some of the passengers don't have the required documentation, the Associated Press reported.

"We've made clear to all parties, we've made clear to the Taliban, that these charters need to be able to depart," Blinken said.

The U.S. is continuing to press the Taliban to allow charter flights carrying would-be evacuees out of the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Blinken said some groups that claim to have proper documentation and arrangements prepared "unfortunately don't—often for good reason, but this creates further complications."

He added that the U.S. is working with advocates and lawmakers to help coordinate landing rights and liaise with other countries in the region on flights over their territory, or overflights.

"While there are limits to what we can do without personnel on the ground, without an airport with normal security and procedures in place, we are working to do everything in our power to support those flights and to get them off the ground," Blinken said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Taliban soldier
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Taliban is refusing to allow charter flights to depart from Afghanistan over documentation. Above, a member of the Taliban Fateh, a "special forces" unit, stands guard outside the U.S. Embassy, displaying a Taliban flag in the outer concrete wall in Kabul, Afghanistan, on September 8, 2021. Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

Legitimacy, support must be 'earned'

Blinken is telling the Taliban that "any legitimacy, any support will have to be earned" after the group named an interim government.

Blinken spoke after he and his German counterpart on Wednesday hosted a virtual meeting of ministers from 22 countries as well as NATO and the European Union.

Blinken reiterated the cautious initial U.S. response to the Taliban's naming Tuesday of an interim government lineup.

Blinken said that the government and the Taliban will be judged by their actions.

Germany: Support depends on Taliban

Germany's foreign minister has responded skeptically to the Taliban's announcement of an interim government lineup for Afghanistan.

Heiko Maas released a statement Wednesday, a day after the Taliban announced an all-male interim government. The Cabinet is stacked with veterans of their hard-line rule from the 1990s and the 20-year battle against the U.S.-led coalition. Germany was a major troop provider for that alliance.

Maas said his country is ready to provide humanitarian aid via the United Nations and will continue to speak to the Taliban to secure the departure from Afghanistan of former employees and others.

He added that any commitment beyond that will depend on the Taliban's behavior.

Maas said: "The announcement of an interim government without the participation of other groups and yesterday's violence against female demonstrators and journalists in Kabul are not signals that make us optimistic about that."

Antony Blinken and Heiko Maas
The largest American military community overseas houses thousands of Afghan evacuees in a tent city at the Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Germany. Above, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrive for a meeting at Ramstein on September 8, 2021. Michael Probst/AP Photo

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