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Taliban to allow 200 to fly out of capital

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People line up to board a French military transport plane at the Kabul airport on August 17, 2021, for evacuation from Afghanistan after the Taliban's stunning military takeover of the country. STR AFP/File

Taliban to allow 200 to fly out of capital

Some 200 passengers, including US citizens, were set to leave Kabul airport on September 9, on the first flight carrying foreigners out of the Afghan capital since a US-led evacuation ended on August 30.

The flight to Qatari capital Doha comes as the Taliban continue their transition from insurgents to governing power, less than a month after they marched into Kabul and ousted former president Ashraf Ghani.

The Qatar Airways flight was being prepared to take out some 200 people from Kabul’s airport – the first since a mammoth, chaotic airlift of more than 120,000 people came to a dramatic close with the US pullout.

An Afghan-American dual citizen, waiting to board the flight with his family, said the US state department had called him in the morning and told him to go to the airport.

“I have not been feeling well these past weeks. Someone told me that people were looking for me,” he told AFP.

In the days that followed the Taliban’s blitz, the airport had become a tragic symbol of desperation among Afghans terrified of the militants’ return to power – with thousands of people crowding around its gates daily, and some even clinging to jets as they took off.

More than 100 people were killed, including 13 US troops, in a suicide attack on August 26 near the airport that was claimed by the Islamic State group’s local chapter.

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