US Government Suspends Evacuation Flights in Afghanistan After Taliban Tried to Get Plane Seats

According to the Biden administration, Qatar was displeased with the Taliban trying to get seats on Afghan flights. A new report indicates that the arrangement is fine between Qatar and Taliban, but U.S. officials are the ones whining about the situation.

The Times reports that the Taliban used seats on evacuation planes in order to smuggle fighters and supporters to support the group’s fundraising efforts. This is why speculation has erupted about the reason that US flights from Afghanistan were halted in December.

“Sources familiar with the evacuation process said that the Taliban had previously submitted a list of selected names to Qatar’s foreign ministry, which then coordinated with American officials, and only those on the US’s final evacuees list were allowed to board flights leaving Kabul,” The Times reported.

Although it is impossible to determine the exact cases, suspicions were raised by the Taliban’s explicit demand that evacuation flights be filled with them, especially since the country’s economy is struggling to survive.

The decision of a UN Security Council to allow humanitarian assistance into Afghanistan to prevent a famine crisis paints an ugly picture.

The Times explains how Doha and Kabul had always maintained at least one to two evacuation flights per week. Earlier this year, Qatar hosted talks between the Taliban and the United States.

Ned Price, the spokesperson for the State Department, confirmed that evacuation flights were suspended late last week. He is also the one now pointing fingers at others over the cancellation. He claimed that Qatar was the one who opposed the Taliban’s requests for seating.

“It is essential that Kabul airport remain operational to ensure safe passage, commerce and, above all, urgently needed humanitarian aid. The Qataris have been unfailing, generous and critical partners in this important work, and we support the quickest possible resolution to any disagreements,” the department spokesperson stated in an interview.

This is in addition to a new Taliban order that was issued Sunday and which limits long-distance travel by Afghan women. In such situations, they will need to be accompanied by a male relative. To be accepted by vehicle owners, women must also wear face covers if they plan to travel beyond 45 miles.

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