According to Psaki, the Biden administration continues to “press the Taliban” over the issue of evacuation flights, many of which contain Americans, not being allowed to leave Afghanistan.
“We don’t have any role in preventing flights from taking off,” Psaki told reporters. “We are not on the ground, so that is not something that the U.S. government is doing. At the same time, some of these planes and some of the issues [include] where are they going to land.”
Psaki noted that “a number of these planes” seeking to depart Afghanistan may have a “handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals” who do not have proper documentation of identity.
“They may have several hundred individuals where we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is,” Psaki said, describing the situation as one of the “hard choices you face in government.”
“Are we going to allow a plane with hundreds of people where we don’t know who they are, we don’t know what security protocols have been put in place, to land on a U.S. military base,” Psaki stated, noting that there are “some charter planes taking off.”
Psaki’s comments come less than two weeks after thousands of Americans and Afghan allies, some of which had not been thoroughly vetted before arriving in America, fled or tried to flee Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s takeover.
As previously reported, the State Department refused to grant official approval for private evacuation flights from Afghanistan to land in third countries, even though the department conceded that official authorization would likely be needed for planes to land in those nations, an email reviewed by Fox News shows.
Last week, State Department spokesman Ned Price addressed the security risks of allowing the charter flights on to military bases.
“If these charters are seeking to go to a U.S. military installation, for example, we have to weigh not only the threat to those who may be on board – especially if they’re American citizens, LPRs, other Afghans to whom we have a special commitment – but also to the safety and security of State Department personnel, U.S. military personnel, Department of Homeland Security personnel, other U.S. personnel on U.S. military installations,” Price said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also held a news conference from Qatar on Tuesday and said the issue of vetting passengers and following security protocols for those fleeing the Taliban’s control in Afghanistan is a major challenge.
“Without personnel on the ground, we can’t verify the accuracy of manifests, the identities of passengers, flight plans, or aviation security protocols,” Secretary Blinken said. “So this is a challenge, but one we are determined to work through. We’re conducting a great deal of diplomacy on this as we speak.” (Fox)