According to a State Department official, the US has safely evacuated four US civilians from Afghanistan using an overland route.
The Americans, who were all in good health, evacuated through an undisclosed third country, where they were received by U.S. embassy authorities, according to an unnamed State Department source who spoke to CNN, NBC News, and CBS News.
“The Taliban was aware and did not impede their transit,” the source said.
Their departure marked the first time that any of the dozens of Americans believed to be remaining in Afghanistan have made it out of the country since the last U.S. troops departed a week ago.
The move came as Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Doha, Qatar, where he is scheduled to meet with Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and other senior Qatari officials.
The State Department said Blinken will “discuss our efforts on Afghanistan and other matters important to a strong bilateral relationship” during the visit.
The United States and its partners relocated more than 124,000 people to safety, including 6,000 U.S. citizens, in what the State Department called “an unprecedented, global effort through our diplomatic channels to evacuate U.S. citizens, personnel from partner nations, and at-risk Afghans from Kabul.”
The Biden administration, however, is under political pressure to facilitate the exits of those remaining in the country.
About 100 Americans are still in Afghanistan, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Sunday, adding he was “hopeful” that Qatar will be able to resume air service into and out of Kabul in the coming days and that Americans might be able to board those flights.
“We are going to find ways to get them — the ones that want to leave — to get them out of Afghanistan,” he told CNN. “We know many of them have family members, many of them want to stay, but the ones that want to leave, we’re going to get them out.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (L) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley deliver remarks about the end of the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan at the Pentagon, in Arlington, Va., on September 1. Photo by Ken Cedeno