Another Afghan evacuation flight leaves as UN warns of Taliban 'reprisals'

White House says Taliban have been ‘businesslike and professional’ in allowing the flight to leave


AFP September 10, 2021
A commercial airplane is seen at the Hamid Karzai International Airport a day after U.S troops withdrawal in Kabul, Afghanistan August 31, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL:

A second charter flight left Afghanistan on Friday carrying foreigners and Afghans to Qatar in a sign the country's main airport was close to resuming commercial operations, as the United Nations warned of "credible allegations" of reprisal killings by the Taliban.

The plane departed the day after just over 100 passengers, including some Americans, left Kabul airport on the first flight carrying foreigners out of the Afghan capital since a US-led evacuation ended on August 30.

The White House said the Taliban had been "businesslike and professional" in allowing the flight to leave, but the United Nations envoy for Afghanistan warned the group may be targeting perceived enemies.

"We are also concerned that despite the many statements granting general amnesties... there have been credible allegations of reprisal killings," envoy Deborah Lyons said in New York.

She said Afghan security officials and people who worked for the previous administration were at risk.

Unconfirmed reports in the capital, meanwhile, suggested the Taliban may hold a ceremony to swear in the new government on Saturday — the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks that triggered the end of their first stint in power.

The French foreign ministry said French nationals and their families made up 49 of the passengers onboard Friday's flight.

As news of resumption in evacuation flights spread, some people gathered at the airport gates, pleading with Taliban guards to get in.

Also read: PAF aircraft carrying relief goods lands in Kabul

"If I can't go just kill me!" said one woman, among a group of women and children each carrying backpacks.

Many Afghans in the capital are fearful of a repeat of the group's brutal and repressive rule from 1996-2001.

The Taliban have already begun to segregate men and women students and medical staff, suggested women will be banned from playing sports, and unveiled an all-male government drawn exclusively from loyalist ranks.

More than 100 passengers were on the Qatar Airways flight that landed in Doha on Thursday evening, 10 days after a mammoth, chaotic airlift of more than 120,000 people came to a dramatic close with the US pullout.

Qatar has said it worked with Turkey to swiftly resume operations at Kabul's airport to allow the flow of people and aid.

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