Ian Patrick, FISM News
In order to evacuate the remaining U.S. citizens and some Afghan allies past the August 31 deadline, hundreds of nations worldwide have made a potential deal with the Taliban.
The U.S., in conjunction with 97 other nations, announced that “all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization” for any of the member countries will be able to travel out of Afghanistan. The Taliban themselves have confirmed this deal.
The joint statement from the State Department details the agreement:
We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan. We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country. We will continue issuing travel documentation to designated Afghans, and we have the clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries. We note the public statements of the Taliban confirming this understanding.
The last of the 350 U.S. citizens and U.S. troops are still scheduled to be evacuated from the country on Tuesday. Since August 14 the United States has, with the help of international partners, evacuated over 114,000 people including thousands of Afghanistan natives and 5,400 U.S. citizens according to recent data from Reuters.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken went on NBC’s Meet the Press to discuss both the evacuation rollout and the deal with the Taliban. Host Chuck Todd asked what the Taliban has been promised for their cooperation, to which Blinken responded “nothing.”
Nothing has been promised to the Taliban. To the contrary, we have made very clear – and not just us – country upon country around the world have made clear that there are very significant expectations of the Taliban going forward if they’re going to have any kind of relationship with the rest of the world, starting with freedom of travel but then going on to making sure that they’re sustaining the basic rights of their people, including women and girls; making sure that they’re making good on commitments they’ve repeatedly made on counterterrorism; and having some inclusivity in governance.
Concerning the aforementioned “deal” with the Taliban, Blinken said that this deal is also notable in how the Taliban wants to be seen in the eyes of the world.
That freedom of travel is essential to the international community’s expectations of the Taliban going forward. And working with other countries very closely, we’re going to make sure that we put in place the means to do that – an airport that functions, other ways of leaving the country. All of that is what we’re working on in the days ahead.
Blinken also said that “we take them by their deed,” reflecting a mantra from the nations in the G7.
Relationships between the Taliban and the international community have already been marred on numerous circumstances, including the suicide bomb attack on the Kabul airport and reports of Taliban fighters killing those who were American allies.
The Biden administration has been criticized extensively for relying on the Taliban to live up to their word. These critics have pointed out that the Taliban is a terrorist organization which was partially responsible for the 9/11 attacks on America and that the new regime has gone against its word multiple times since taking power.
The most infamous instance of Biden putting blind trust in the Taliban is the reported “kill list” of American names given to the the organization to ensure safe passage. Both Biden and Blinken deny a list of names being given that would further endanger the lives of Americans.