Taliban, Blinken, Mazari Sharif discussed on Here & Now

Here & Now


From npr and wbz. I'm robin young. And i'm tanya moseley. It's here now today. Secretary of state antony blinken is denying claims by some aid groups and members of congress that the taliban is detaining americans on charter flights in the afghan city of mazari sharif blinken insists americans with valid. Documentation are able to leave. They've upheld that commitment. And at least one instance in the last twenty four hours with a family that was able to leave overland route and we are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage like situation in missouri sharieff. Joining us for the latest on this is npr. Diplomatic correspondent michelle kellerman and michelle. Let's first talk about this family. The secretary of state is talking about a texas woman. Her three children who got out by traveling to the border on an overland route as he said with the help of oklahoma congressman mark wayne mullen and a private aid organization. What more can you tell us about this family. And those efforts to get people out. Well you know. The state department hasn't really said much about Those four or even talked about the route that was used but they did say that. The taliban new about this movement and didn't impede it you know ever since leaving the kabul airport. The state department has been trying to work on overland routes. They're also working with qatar and turkey to try to reopen the airport in kabul. That's where they're focused. Their focuses now congressman mullen though says that the state department doesn't really deserve any credit for the rescue mission that this was all a private effort to help out this woman and her three children. What are you hearing from your sources about. How difficult is situation. This is first secretary blinken. Well there are a lot of a aid groups that are working on this private groups of former veterans former You know special forces And and there's a lot of anger at blinken right now. Some of these groups say they've given the state department manifest for planes out of mazari sharif landing rights in qatar. They're furious with the department's handling of the situation but blinking says. Look you know the. Us doesn't have personnel on the ground anymore in afghanistan. It can't verify the manifest. It doesn't control the airspace. And they're a big risks He says there are about a hundred americans In afghanistan who were still seeking to come out and the department has teams Dedicated to all of them. They're trying to provide tailored guidance on how to get out but You know this is a very difficult situation. I think for for the state department for him and for all these activists who are Really have a sense of urgency right now today. The taliban announced an interim government. What are the taliban saying about these efforts to get americans and afghan helpers out well the interim government is is knocking to be something that the us likes there's The us said that there were supposed to be an inclusive government and there doesn't look to be any non-taliban members of it. So far there's no women so far And there are. There are people in there that the us has sanctions on. But you know what blanket has been saying is that it will watch what the taliban does not just what it says. What it says about the A about the evacuation is that people with documents. American citizens people with visas will be able to get out and so far. The state department says that's been the case One of the problems in mazari sharif is that there are this is according to the state department that there are people on board are not on board but w- on manifest that are ready to board planes to get out that would have that. Don't have proper documents or not documents at all so that's One of the issues that they're facing. Well i wanna take a step back to some things you were saying about what blinking telling us about the situation there over the weekend. Republican congressman. michael. Mccall claimed that there were six planes at the mazari sharif airport trying to leave and that it was turning into a hostage situation. Can you give us more clarity on that. Are those planes still there. How many people is the state department. Actually trying to help as we understand it. The planes are still there The activists and veteran groups say there are hundreds of people. There they say there are american citizens But again the state department says it doesn't know exactly how many are actually there. They say they're you know reaching out to americans individually to try to help them get out in other ways if not on these these flights so it is a very murky situation stilt on you. And how is the how lincoln's team negotiating all of this well. It's interesting because doha here. There's a taleban office. But he's not meeting with the taliban they've they've they've decided to keep the contacts with the taliban now on this more technical level local level. And it's mostly focused on these very specific things about evacuations about trying to keep the taliban to their commitment. Allow safe passage for americans and for at risk. Afghans michelle kellerman. Npr diplomatic correspondent. Thank you so much. Michelle for this update. Thank you crews. Battling california's kaldor fire made some headway. Yesterday cal fire reports. it's now almost fifty percent contained which is led officials to downgrade evacuation orders for south lake. Tahoe and allow thousands of residents to return home. Many of them sought refuge in neighboring nevada. Where the state's governor recently signed an emergency declaration to offer assistance to fire victims and other organizations such as the american were across have up several evacuation centers in communities across the state lucia starbuck of member station k. u. n. are in reno medicine. South lake tahoe evacuees and has the story. It's been quite a journey for shelley avars. She has mobility issues and doesn't have access to transportation when law enforcement knocked on her door in south lake. Tahoe to get her to leave. She didn't have.

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