Blinken: Taliban has said documented Americans may leave Afghanistan

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The effort to get American citizens out of Afghanistan continues, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying officials are working “around the clock” to bring them home.

On Tuesday, Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Qatar, where tens of thousands of evacuated Afghans await processing to make it into the U.S.

“We’ve been assured that all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid travel documents will be allowed to leave. …We intend to hold the Taliban to that,” Blinken said. “It’s my understanding that the Taliban has not denied exit to anyone holding a valid document.”

His trip came after U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told Fox News Sunday that the Taliban is holding Americans hostage.

“They’re not allowing American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America,” McCaul said.

Blinken said that’s not an accurate representation of the situation.

“We are not aware of anyone being held on aircraft or any hostage-like situation,” he said.

He said the State Department is in contact with Americans trying to get out of Afghanistan. With the last 24 hours, he said, the Taliban has allowed one U.S. family to leave over land.

But charter flights out of the country are stalled because the Taliban has tried to stop undocumented Afghans from leaving, Blinken said.

“Because all of these people are grouped together, that’s meant that flights have not been allowed to go,” he said.

Blinken said the U.S. is working with international partners to overcome hurdles. He is next bound for Germany on Wednesday to further discuss how nations will approach a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

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