Kabul Airport returns to action, plane with civilians flies out
Some 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan on a commercial flight out of Kabul on Thursday, the first such large-scale departure since the US and other forces completed their frantic withdrawal over a week ago.
The Qatar Airways flight to Doha marked a breakthrough in the bumpy coordination between the US and Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers. A long standoff over charter planes at another airport has left dozens of passengers stranded.
A senior US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, provided the number of westerners on the Qatar flight and said that two senior Taliban officials helped facilitate the departure on Thursday - the new foreign minister and deputy prime minister. Americans, US green card holders and other nationalities, including Germans, Hungarians and Canadians, were aboard.
Pentagon chief: Al-Qaeda may try to come back
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday the Al-Qaeda terror group that used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack the US 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there following an American withdrawal that left the Taliban in power.
“That’s the nature of the organisation,” he said in Kuwait City. He said the US is prepared to prevent an Al-Qaeda comeback in Afghanistan. “We put the Taliban on notice that we expect them to not allow that to happen,” Austin said, referring to the possibility of Al-Qaeda again using Afghanistan as a base.
US in no rush to recognise new govt: White House
The US is not in a rush to recognise the new Taliban-led interim government, according to a top White House official, PTI reported.
On questions regarding the interim cabinet, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday, “We have not conveyed we’re going to recognise it (the new government) and nor are we rushing to recognition. There’s a lot they have to do before that.”