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White House press secretary Jen Psaki welcomed news that an estimated 200 foreigners, including Americans, left Afghanistan on a commercial flight out of Kabul on Thursday, the first such large-scale departure since U.S. and NATO forces completed their frantic withdrawal over a week ago.
Watch Psaki’s remarks in the player above.
“We are here to celebrate the return of American citizens who wanted to leave Afghanistan, of legal permanent residents, of Afghans who fought by our side to Qatar,” Psaki told reporters on Thursday.
The Qatar Airways flight to Doha marked a breakthrough in the bumpy coordination between the U.S. and Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers. A dayslong standoff over charter planes at another airport has left hundreds of people – mostly Afghans – stranded, waiting for Taliban permission to board.
A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media, provided the number of Westerners on the Qatar flight and said two high-ranking Taliban officials helped arrange the departure – the foreign minister and deputy prime minister.
Psaki said Biden intended to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 on Saturday by visiting the three major sites attacked on that day in 2001.
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