First evacuation flight takes off from Kabul airport since U.S. withdrawal

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A flight carrying dozens of people took off from Kabul airport on Thursday as efforts are underway to evacuate scores of American citizens and third country nationals from the country.

The flight which left for Qatar was the first evacuation flight to take off from Kabul Airport following the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from the country.

A U.S. official had earlier told Reuters that the Taliban authorities have agreed to let 200 American civilians and third country nationals to depart charter flights.

The official speaking on the condition of anonymity further added that the U.S. envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad had pressed the Taliban to allow the departures.

This comes as the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group would not prevent anyone looking to leave Afghanistan with valid travel documents.

Over 90 countries including Canada had earlier called on Taliban to honour its assurances regarding the evacuation of foreign nationals and Afghans holding travel authorization.

“We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan,” a joint statement issued by Canada and over 90 other countries stated.

The statement further added “We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country.”

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