Desperate Afghans still await flights to flee Taliban – Times of India

PARIS: When hundreds of Afghans hoping to escape the incoming Taliban regime had been lower off from Kabul airport final month, many began trying to find other ways to flee.
Hundreds made a daring sprint for the airport at Mazar-i-Sharif — a metropolis some 300 kilometres (185 miles) to the north on a route that had develop into punctuated with Taliban checkpoints.
Some managed to board constitution planes crowdfunded by people and companies, however many others are still ready for permission.
“Several hundred more are waiting in Mazar-i-Sharif,” stated Nama Vanier, from growth and analysis agency Sayara, who has secured personal funding for 2 Airbus A340 passenger jets for 680 Afghans.
“They are people from aid agencies, people who worked for foreign companies and journalists — including a female reporter who suffered an assassination attempt,” she added.
Vanier, who efficiently helped 51 Afghans and their households board flights from Kabul, stated the holdup usually got here from Washington.
“It is our impression that, if there was strong support from the American authorities, the Taliban would be accommodating,” stated Vanier.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated the United States was working around the clock to facilitate the flights, however had restricted on-floor assets.
“We’ve made clear to the Taliban — that these charters need to be able to depart,” he stated Wednesday.
He stated the United States was additionally urgent the Taliban to reopen Kabul airport for civilian flights in order that those that need to can go away Afghanistan safely.
Marina LeGree, from ladies’s rights group Ascend Athletics, is attempting to evacuate a gaggle of younger Afghan ladies and their households.
“Nothing is moving,” she stated. “We feel sold out.”
Eric Montalvo, a former US soldier and lawyer concerned within the evacuation try from Mazar-i-Sharif, accused the United States of failing to ship the paperwork wanted for the Afghans to go away.
A frenzied two-week worldwide airlift operation out of Kabul noticed greater than 123,000 international nationals and Afghans evacuated, earlier than the final US soldier flew out forward of an August 31 deadline to finish their 20-yr conflict.
Farid Ahmadi had been due to fly out on August 26 however hours earlier than his flight, an Islamic State-Khorasan suicide bomber detonated outdoors the airport, killing scores of individuals.
In the center of the evening, Ahmadi acquired a name telling him to go to Mazar-i-Sharif as an alternative.
He gathered his colleagues and their households, and collectively crowded onto a bus for a 9-hour experience.
Taliban troopers stopped the bus a number of occasions on its sluggish journey.
“We told them we were going to a wedding,” Ahmadi stated. “All the families were afraid. The children weren’t talking, they weren’t playing.”
Arriving in Mazar-i-Sharif, they laid low for 3 days.
Then, simply hours earlier than the final US troopers left Afghanistan, Ahmadi’s group acquired the inexperienced mild, and their airplane took off.
Behind the Mazar-i-Sharif flights lay a outstanding effort, generally down to the coordination of only a handful of decided people.
“We had friends, former colleagues, people who were at risk, who asked us for help — but they were not on the lists of embassies,” stated Clemence Qint from Magenta, a consultancy firm offering governance recommendation.
“So we started working on our own evacuations.”
Facebook chartered one to airlift its staff, and others needing assist.
“In the process of assisting Facebook employees and close partners to leave Afghanistan, we joined an effort to help a group of journalists and their families who were in grave danger,” the social media big stated in a press release.
Mexico stated it could welcome 175 Afghans, together with greater than 100 from the communications group that owns Tolo News, who plan to proceed on to the United States.
“We spent three days telling each other that the flight was going to leave… then there was a bureaucratic barrier, an administrative barrier, or because someone didn’t pick up their phone,” stated Qint.
Farid Ahmadi described the aid when the wheels of his airplane lastly took off from Mazar-i-Sharif.
“Everyone was crying,” he stated. “No one could believe we had done it.”

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