The Biden administration is aiming to resume regular evacuation flights from Afghanistan before the year ends, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
The plan is to help the small number of U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghans who worked for the U.S. and were left behind, the newspaper said.
Since the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan on Aug. 31, only a small number of flights have carried Americans and others out of Kabul and the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
The State Department has not yet scheduled any flights out of Afghanistan, an official told the newspaper.
Still to be resolved is documentation for those leaving, approval to fly over other countries, and procedures with the Taliban.
"As soon as we have the right combination of documentation and logistics, we will get going again," the senior State Department official said in an interview.
The Journal said the administration plans to schedule several flights a week.
However, the Taliban is presently requiring most Afghan travelers to have passports.
But some Afghan nationals, fearing retaliation after working for the U.S., have destroyed their documents. And some remain convinced that applying to leave the country would alert the Taliban to their past.
Qatar Airways would operate the flights for the State Department. Washington had been hopeful it could get the flights started as early as this week, the newspaper said.
"I think we’re prepared to do this for the foreseeable future, that is certainly the reason for reorganizing the overall effort," the official said.
The Journal said seating priority on the new flights will be given to U.S. citizens.
Meanwhile, a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Air Force paints a chilling picture of the last evacuation efforts at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, including a revelation that a group was planning on hijacking one of the evacuation flights.
More than 120,000 people were evacuated in what the Biden administration has called the ''largest airlift in history."
In the report, Lt. Col. Brian Desautels of the 71st Rescue Squadron, said they had received a tip that a group of five people planned to hijack a commercial plane used in the evacuation during those chaotic two weeks.
"Our team worked to get them clear of the NATO ramp, relocated to the north side away from friendly forces, then ultimately onto the south side where the situation was handled," he said. He did not detail how the incident was ultimately resolved.
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