US seeking to make Afghanistan charter flights 'even more routine'

Biden administration wants to 'lend a degree of automaticity to these operations,' says State Deptartment


Anadolu Agency October 16, 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

WASHINGTON:

The US rejected a report Thursday that suggested it paused charter flights to get Americans and visa holders out of Afghanistan and would not be resume until year's end, maintaining flights are and will be routine.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration's goal is to ensure flights become "even more routine, to lend a degree of automaticity to these operations so that we can facilitate the departure of Americans, of lawful permanent residents, and others to whom we have a special commitment if they choose to do so."

"The idea that charter flights wouldn’t resume until later this year doesn’t, of course, comport with reality,” he said.

The comments come after the Wall Street Journal reported that flights were paused amid efforts to make additional arrangements with regional countries, but would resume before 2022. The newspaper reported that the State Department plans to carry out several flights weekly and centralize evacuation efforts through Qatar, citing a senior official.

"As soon as we have the right combination of documentation and logistics, we will get going again," an anonymous official told the Journal.

The last flight departed Afghanistan on Monday, Price said, noting there are no plans to resume the military flights that were a staple of the US-led evacuation effort that concluded in August. More than 120,000 people were ferried out of the country in the final days of the US occupation.

Ultimately, the US wants to see to it that Afghanistan has a functioning international airport, he added.

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