A highlight from Charter Flights Are Trying To Leave Afghanistan, Blinken In Qatar For Crisis Talks

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I'm steve inskeep in islamabad. Just across the border from me here. Us troops are out of afghanistan. Some americans in many afghans wanna follow. The taliban have promised safe passage but making that into reality is proving tough. A few americans have crossed land borders recently but private planes ready to carry. Many more are stuck at the airport of a northern afghan city secretary of state. Antony blinken is in doha qatar. Trying to arrange that journey and others and npr's michelle kellerman is traveling with the secretary. She spoke with us a short time ago. What is the delay for these planes in. The city called mazaar-i-sharif well veteran groups activists and others that have been trying to evacuate hundreds of people that they say were left behind. These include some americans at risk. Afghans have really been turning up the heat on the state department saying that They haven't been helpful with this. Now they say. The taliban isn't helpful with this Secretary blinken did address it today. Take a listen to what he had to say. We're working around the clock to clear any roadblocks to make sure that charter flights carrying americans or others to whom we have a special responsibility can depart afghanistan safely without personnel on the ground. We can't verify the accuracy of manifests. The identities of passengers flight plans aviation security protocols. And you see those are the real security risk at stake. That lincoln was talking about there. And that's been one of the big issues that the state department has been talking about is that they don't know exactly who are on these planes So they responsible for them if they end up coming to other countries or to Us military bases. I guess you don't know what kind of security protocols are really put in place by the taliban and sharieff but what about the taliban themselves are they being helpful or blocking things as best you can tell well blinken said it's. It's not a hostage situation. It's not that the taliban are holding up all these planes. He said that they are letting people leave if they have the right travel documents or travel documents at all in fact he said the state department got four americans. Out on an overland route just yesterday The taliban knew about that and didn't impede it. So you know what he's focused on is trying to keep the taliban committed to keep their commitment to letting people out to giving people safe passage and he's also working to try to get the airport in kabul reopened with the help of qatar and turkey Where the us would have a little bit at least have allies and partners on the ground to help in this. I just want to think through what the secretary of state would be doing in doha and cutter. Which is there on. The persian gulf south of us here in pakistan and south of afghanistan is a big. Us military base. There i know it would be the destination for some of these. Flights out of afghanistan cutter is close to the taliban friend friend of the relations with the taliban. And there's even a taliban office there. So what does the secretary of state doing and who's he meeting with. well edgy. Say it's really the hub for international diplomacy the us embassy staff that left cobbler operating out of here. He's going to be meeting with them. He's going to see where the refugees are. Fifty eight thousand of them have come through qatar as the first stop before heading to the us and europe But he's not planning to meet those taliban delegation. That has an office here that he we know so far. Michelle thanks for your reporting safe travels to you thank you. Npr's michelle kellerman is with the secretary of state in doha cutter. This message comes from. Npr sponsor three m three m employee.

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