- The Washington Times - Monday, September 6, 2021

A State Department spokesperson said Monday that the U.S. government assisted in the overland evacuation of four U.S. citizens from Afghanistan.

The spokesperson said that the family was met by U.S. Embassy staff in a neighboring country at the border of Afghanistan. A U.S. official who first confirmed the evacuation to The Associated Press did not offer further detail due to security measures “and the need to preserve the viability of the route for possible future efforts.” It is not clear in which specific country the family was met by U.S. Embassy staff.

The official’s statement marks the first confirmation of the U.S. government facilitating an overland evacuation since ending air evacuations out of Afghanistan last week.

The evacuation also follows increased concern for the fate of U.S. citizens left behind in the withdrawal.

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said Sunday the Taliban are preventing flights filled with American civilians and allies from leaving Afghanistan.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said on “Fox News Sunday” the Taliban are not clearing the airplanes to depart despite approval from the State Department.

“In fact, we have six airplanes at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, six airplanes, with American citizens on them as I speak, also with these interpreters, and the Taliban is holding them hostage for demands right now,” Mr. McCaul said.

Last week, Republican lawmakers began demanding a plan from the Biden administration to evacuate remaining U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said somewhere between 100 to 200 American civilians were left behind after U.S. troops withdrew at the end of August.

Seth McLaughlin contributed to this story.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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