Two hundred and eleven dual nationals, including roughly 30 Americans, were set to depart Kabul for Qatar on Thursday on the first commercial flight out of Afghanistan since the U.S. officially withdrew from the country. The Taliban said that people with the proper papers, which included passports from the U.S. and other countries, could board the plane, a Qatar Airways Boeing 777. Qatar has been serving as a way station between Afghanistan and many evacuees’ final destinations.
Thursday marked the reopening of Hamid Karzai International Airport after American forces staged an enormous evacuation of Americans and Afghans marked by chaos and a deadly suicide bombing, up until August 31, when U.S. forces departed. The Taliban has been working with the Qatari government to restore operations.
A small number of American citizens — recent estimates have ranged from 100 to 200 — remain within the country. A much larger contingent of Afghans who helped U.S. forces, and may qualify for special American visas, still remain. Their fate is unclear: The Taliban has at times indicated that people with the proper documentation could leave, but has thus far blocked a charter flight out of Mazar-i-Sharif in the country’s north, claiming some passengers don’t have the correct papers.
As the country fell to the Taliban last month, the U.S. ferried an estimated 123,000 civilians out of the country, including 6,000 Americans.