State Department confirms 28 US citizens onboard Qatar Airways flight that departed Kabul
Retired Navy SEAL who killed Usama bin Laden, Rob O'Neill, reacts to the botched Kabul drone strike which killed civilians instead of ISIS-K members
State Department spokesperson Ned Price issued a statement Saturday detailing the number of Americans rescued and thanked the Taliban for their "cooperation" with the international community.
"We can confirm that a Qatar Airways charter flight departed from Kabul yesterday with 28 U.S. citizens and 7lawful permanent residents on board," said Price. "We are grateful to Qatari authorities, who continue to coordinate these flights with us. We will continue to help U.S. citizens and Afghans affiliated with the U.S. government to depart Afghanistan. The international community welcomes the Taliban’s cooperation on these flights, and we will continue our engagement so that U.S. citizens and Afghans enjoy full freedom of movement."
This charter flight is only the third confirmed flight carrying Americans out of Afghanistan since the U.S. completely withdrew from the country and the Taliban took control.
On Friday, U.S. special envoy Zalmai Khalilzad confirmed that a Qatar Airlines chartered plane landed in Qatar carrying about 170 civilians. Khalilzad said he was "grateful that more Americans were able to leave [Friday] on a Qatar Airways flight."
"As President Biden said, there is no deadline for Americans remaining in Afghanistan," the envoy added. "We remain committed to get them out if they want to come home."
According to The Associated Press, State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter confirmed that the plane departed Kabul on Friday but said that, at the time, government officials were still working on determining how many Americans and Afghan allies were on the flight, which landed in Doha.
Porter also said Friday that a total of 36 U.S. citizens had left Afghanistan between charter flights and crossings over land since the U.S. troop pullout.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sept. 8 that the Taliban must allow planes transporting Americans and allies to depart the Kabul airport, or else face consequences.
"Those flights need to be able to leave, and the United States government, State Department – we are doing everything we can to help make that happen," Blinken said. "Those flights need to move. I pointed out some of the complications that are there, but those flights need to move."
Despite efforts by the State Department, roughly 100 Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press and Fox News' Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.