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Pentagon says about 100 Americans still in Afghanistan, exit hampered by Taliban 'unpredictability'

U.S. military official said another big constraint was absence of regular commercial air service

Updated: September 28, 2021 - 4:23am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

An estimated 100 U.S. citizens are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, nearly a month after American troops officially left the country, with the "unpredictability" of the now-ruling Taliban purportedly the wildcard in the departures.

"The biggest constraint to the departure of our citizens and others from Afghanistan, of course, remains the Taliban's unpredictability, regarding who is permitted to depart," a senior State Department official Monday told the reporters from Voice of America and other news outlets. 

However, the official acknowledged another big constraint was the absence of regular commercial air service to "enable folks who wish to depart to do so in a predictable manner.”

Most of the tens of thousands who left Afghanistan before the Aug. 31 deadline for official troop withdrawal were airlifted by military transport planes, which were later assisted by commercial flights. However, such flights have been limited since the Taliban takeover of the the international airport in Kabul and the entire Afghanistan.   

The State Department said its officials are in "regular communication" with private groups chartering their own evacuation flights from the country, and also in communication with the Taliban consistently working to negotiate the safe departure of Americans, Voice of America also reports.

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