Taliban will allow Americans, at-risk Afghans to leave after Aug 31: Blinken

WASHINGTON: As many as 1,500 American citizens may still need to be evacuated from Afghanistan and the Taliban have pledged to allow some departures after US troops leave the country on August 31, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

Blinken told reporters that at least 4,500 American citizens of the 6,000 Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan have departed.

He said officials have been in "direct contact" with another 500 Americans who want to leave and have provided them with "specific instructions on how to get to the airport safely." Officials were "aggressively reaching out" to the remaining 1,000 Americans to "determine whether they still want to leave," he said. "Some may no longer be in the country," Blinken said. "Some may have claimed to be Americans but turn out not to be. Some may choose to stay."

"Of the approximately 1,000, we believe the number of Americans actively seeking assistance to leave Afghanistan is significantly lower," he said.

The US secretary of state also said the Taliban has agreed to allow Americans and "at-risk" Afghan nationals to leave after the August 31 date set by President Joe Biden for a full withdrawal of US troops. - Agencies