Jordan to allow 2,500 Afghans to transit on evacuation flights to US: Ministry

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AMMAN – Jordan has agreed to allow 2,500 Afghan citizens to pass through the kingdom as they fly to the United States, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

It did not say when the arrangement, agreed with Washington on humanitarian grounds, would come into force.

Thousands of Afghans and foreigners have thronged the airport for days, hoping to catch a flight out after Taliban fighters captured Kabul on Aug. 15 and as US-led forces aim to complete their pullout by the end of the month.

Afghan people gather along a road as they wait to board a US military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (File photo: AFP)
Afghan people gather along a road as they wait to board a US military aircraft to leave the country, at a military airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021 days after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (File photo: AFP)

Twenty people have been killed in the chaos at the airport, most in shootings and stampedes in the heat and dust, penned in by concrete blast walls, as US and international forces try to evacuate their citizens and vulnerable Afghans.

The Taliban seized power just over a week ago as the US and its allies withdraw troops after a 20-year war launched in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as US forces hunted al-Qaeda leaders and sought to punish their Taliban hosts.

President Joe Biden said on Sunday the security situation in Afghanistan was changing rapidly and remained dangerous.

“Let me be clear, the evacuation of thousands from Kabul is going to be hard and painful” and would have been “no matter when it began,” Biden said in a briefing at the White House.

“We have a long way to go and a lot could still go wrong.”

Biden said US troops might stay beyond their Aug. 31 deadline to oversee the evacuation. But a Taliban leadership official said foreign forces had not sought an extension and it would not be granted if they had.

The administration of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, struck a deal with the Taliban last year allowing the US to withdraw its forces in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

Reuters

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