The U.S. has halted all U.S.-bound flights of Afghan evacuees from two main bases overseas for unspecified “health safety concerns,” a move U.S. officials warn will have a severe impact on the evacuation operation, according to a U.S. government document seen Friday by The Associated Press.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection made the decision on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to halt the flights from U.S. bases in Germany and Qatar, according to the document.
It was the latest problem in the Biden administration’s rushed and often violence-plagued evacuation of tens of thousands of Afghans and Americans and other foreigners from Afghanistan, which peaked with a more than two-week military airlift out of the Kabul airport. That shut down Aug. 30, when American troops withdrew. Thousands of Afghan evacuees remain in third-country transit sites, before being moved to the United States or other countries.
National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said Friday that 32 Americans and U.S. green-card holders had left Afghanistan on Friday, 19 on a Qatar Airways flight and 13 others by land. It was only the second such evacuation flight allowed by the Taliban since U.S. troops left.