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Afghanistan updates: Flight carrying Americans lands in Qatar

afghanistan-updates:-flight-carrying-americans-lands-in-qatar
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(NEW YORK) — With the U.S. military and diplomatic withdrawal now complete after 20 years in Afghanistan, the Taliban has taken over the country, including the Kabul airport, the site of an often-desperate evacuation effort in past weeks.

But even as the last American troops were flown out to meet President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline, other Americans who wanted to flee the country were left behind. The Biden administration is now focused on a “diplomatic mission” to help them leave but some hoping to evacuate are still stuck in the country. Meanwhile, the Taliban has announced its new “caretaker” government which includes men with U.S. bounties on their heads — and no women.

Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:

Sep 10, 8:00 am
US has ‘many means’ to get intelligence in Afghanistan, Mayorkas says

The United States has “many means” of gathering intelligence in Afghanistan despite not having boots on the ground, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday.

“We no longer have troops in Afghanistan, but we have other resources to learn information on the ground and we certainly use those resources to the best of our abilities,” Mayorkas told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on “Good Morning America.”

“We are quite creative and quite capable of learning information from coast-to-coast and all over the world,” he added.

Mayorkas noted that the U.S. government is watching the potentially re-emerging terrorist threat in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan “very closely.”

“We watch the threat landscape all over the world,” he added. “We have built an entire architect to protect, to safeguard the American people.”

But the greatest threat to the U.S. homeland is currently domestic terrorism, according to Mayorkas.

“Individuals who are prone to violence by reason of an ideology of hate or false narratives that we see on social media or other online platforms,” he said. “I think it’s a sad thing to see hate emerge, as we have observed it emerge over the last several years.”

With the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaching, Mayorkas said the government is not aware of any “specific credible threats targeting the United States” on the somber date.

“But we are vigilant,” he added. “We watch the information, we learn information; but at this point in time, we don’t know of any threat on the anniversary.”

Sep 09, 3:57 pm
More than 30 Americans invited as passengers on flight from Kabul, some declined

More than 30 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents were invited by the U.S. to be passengers on the first chartered flight out of Kabul since the American evacuation mission ended, but not all said yes. Some said no because of medical reasons, extended family members or their desire for more time, among other reasons, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Price said he could not give an exact number of those who did make Thursday’s flight to Qatar.

Echoing an earlier statement from the National Security Council, Price said he welcomed the Qatari Airways departure from Kabul. He said he hopes and expects more flights will be allowed to continue in the days to come.

Sep 09, 2:16 pm
White House confirms flight with Americans landed in Qatar, calls Taliban cooperation ‘professional’

National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne has confirmed that U.S. citizens and permanent residents were among the passengers on the first charter flight to leave the airport in Kabul since Qatar took over operations at the airport and that they have safely landed in Qatar.

The statement offered no passenger numbers, so it’s unclear how many U.S. citizens were on board, but it did provide some praise for the Taliban’s cooperation.

“The Taliban have been cooperative in facilitating the departure of American citizens and lawful permanent residents on charter flights from HKIA. They have shown flexibility, and they have been businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this effort. This is a positive first step,” the statement said.

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