The US Embassy in Kabul on Wednesday warned that it “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport for people attempting to flee Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.
“The security situation in Kabul continues to change quickly, including at the airport,” the alert said.
“Please be advised that a significant number of individuals have registered and space on these flights is available on a first come, first serve basis,” it continued. “You may be required to wait at the airport for a significant amount of time until space is available.”
It came just a day after national security adviser Jake Sullivan’s assurances that the militant group had committed to offering “safe passage” to civilians seeking to leave the country.
Asked about the embassy alert on Wednesday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman insisted that “it appears that the Taliban’s commitment for safe passage for American citizens has been solid.”
“Again, I don’t know every case, so I’m not making a bottom line assessment here, but so far the experience seems to be one that has worked,” she said at a briefing.
All Americans in Afghanistan who have registered their emails with the State Department have been notified about the evacuation efforts, Sherman added.
“I don’t know … of an incident where an American got harassed or hustled or wasn’t able to get to the airport. I have not heard of that yet,” she said. “That’s not to say there aren’t any stories like that I’m sure out there somewhere, given everything that’s going on there probably may be some, but so far it appears Americans have been able to get to the airport.”
The US military has been trying to speed up evacuations amid chaos and violence at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The Pentagon on Wednesday said 2,000 people — including 325 American citizens — were evacuated from Afghanistan in 18 flights over the past 24 hours.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said officials were speaking regularly to the Taliban to help Afghans get to the airport.
He said the military is still working toward its goal of getting a maximum of 5,000 to 9,000 people out a day.
With Post wires