Blinken denies Taliban blocking Americans from leaving

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied on Tuesday reports that the Taliban had blocked Americans attempting to fly out of of a northern Afghan city, but said the group had not allowed charter flights to depart because some people lacked valid travel documents.

Reports have emerged over the past few days that 1,000 people, including Americans, had been stuck at Mazar-i-Sharif airport for days awaiting clearance for their charter flights to leave. One organizer blamed the delay on the State Department.

Blinken was speaking at a news conference in Qatar, a US ally that has emerged as a key interlocutor to the Taliban, which seized power in Kabul on August 15 after the Western-backed government collapsed.

Blinken said Washington had identified a “relatively” small number of Americans seeking to depart from Mazar-i-Sharif.—Agencies

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