NATIONAL NEWS

First US evacuation flight since November leaves Afghanistan

Jan 26, 2022, 9:35 PM
Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft as seen parked at Athens International Airport ATH LGA...
Qatar Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft as seen parked at Athens International Airport ATH LGAV in the Greek Capital. The 787-8 airplane has the registration A7-BCA and is powered by 2x GE jet engines. Qatar Airways the Qatari state-owned flag carrier QTR QR connects daily Doha and the Middle East to Athens. The plane is parked in front of the terminal, connected at an air bridge, next to Aegean Airlines Airbus A320neo and the control tower. The world aviation passenger traffic numbers declined due to the travel restrictions, safety measures such as lockdowns, quarantine etc during the era of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic that hit hard the aviation and travel industry. Greece spotted the Delta mutation, a Covid variant that is counting more than 50% of the cases in June so the government imposes local lockdowns. Passenger need negative Covid tests to travel or a vaccination passport. Athens, Greece on June 24, 2021 (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via AP)
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via AP)

(CNN) — A flight chartered by the US government left Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday, marking the first evacuation departure since November, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

An unknown number of Americans were on board the plane, which was a Qatar Airways flight paid for by the US government, the sources said. A defense official also confirmed the flight, which was first reported by NBC, to CNN.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The departure comes the same day UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Afghanistan is “hanging on by a thread” and called for more humanitarian support for the country.

Earlier this month, CNN reported that there were about 80 Americans still in Afghanistan who wanted to leave the country.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at the time that there were a few dozen US citizens and their families who had identified themselves as prepared to depart with the necessary travel documents.

He also said there were 150 US citizens in Afghanistan who did not wish to leave.

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First US evacuation flight since November leaves Afghanistan