Americans cleared from Kabul because of fly on to U.S. – State Dept

0

More than 100 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents evacuated to Abu Dhabi from Afghanistan aboard a charter flight are expected to fly to the US on Thursday, the State Department and flight organizers said.

U.S. officials on Wednesday were working to verify the accuracy of the list of passengers aboard the charter plane, the State Department said after the flight’s organizers said Washington denied it landing rights.

“Our embassy staff within the UAE has been working around the clock to verify the accuracy of the passenger manifest and is coordinating with DHS/Customs and Border Protection on rock bottom to form sure the passengers are screened and vetted before they’re permitted to fly to the US,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“We expect the passengers to continue onward travel tomorrow morning,” the spokesperson added.

Bryan Stern, a founding father of the nonprofit group Project Dynamo that chartered the flight out of Kabul, said late on Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection agency had denied landing rights for the charter flight within the US.

In a subsequent interview on Wednesday, Stern said that DHS had identified to authorities at Abu Dhabi airport within the United Arab Emirates one person among the evacuees as “a problem,” but he didn’t know definitively whether this was the rationale that landing rights were denied.

“DHS reached bent the airport and said, ‘This guy doesn’t fly.’ They gave me his name. We went and located him. Told him he couldn’t fly and took him off the manifest. But I don’t know if that was the problem,” Stern said.

DHS didn’t answer a call for participation for comment.

Stern’s group chartered a plane from Kam Air, a private Afghan airline, that flew his group of 117 people, including 59 children, to Abu Dhabi airport.

He and thus the evacuees were beginning the jet, which has since returned to Kabul, and was being kept during an area with restricted movement under the watch of Emirati cops, he said.

“We are in custody as we speak in Abu Dhabi. All folks are locked up here together,” Stern said.

Stern said they’re scheduled to travel away on a morning flight on Thursday to Chicago which the State Department “graciously” had agreed to shop for his group’s seats.

Twenty-eight U.S. citizens, 83 lawful permanent residents – identification holders – and 6 people with U.S. Special Immigration Visas granted to Afghans who worked for the U.S. government during the 20-year war in Afghanistan were aboard the Kam Air flight, Stern said.

The State Department didn’t immediately answer a call for participation to discussing Stern’s current situation and on the flight cost.

Stern’s group is one of several that emerged from unplanned networks of U.S. military veterans, current and former U.S. officials et al. that formed to bolster last month’s U.S. evacuation operation they viewed as chaotic and badly organized.

“All U.S.-bound flights must follow the established safety, security, and health protocols before they’re cleared for departure,” a DHS spokesperson said. “This process requires flight manifests to be verified before departure to the U.S. to form sure all passengers are screened appropriately.”

President Joe Biden’s administration has said its top priority is repatriating Americans and identification holders who were unable to travel away from Afghanistan within the U.S. evacuation operation last month.

Stern had planned to transfer the passengers to a chartered Ethiopian Airlines plane for an onward flight to the us that he said the customs agency cleared to land at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The agency then changed the clearance to Dulles Intl.

Leave A Reply