Hundred countries in joint statement hold Taliban to commitment on safe passage

Washington/Kabul : With hours away from the August 31 deadline, nearly 100 countries, in a joint statement said they have been given commitment by the Taliban that all nationals from their countries and Afghan citizens with travel documents seeking to leave Kabul will be allowed safe passage.

The countries said they have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and Afghan citizens with travel authorization will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to the points of departure and travel outside the country.

Titled ‘Joint Statement on Afghanistan Evacuation Travel Assurances’, issued by the US State Department on Sunday, it said that “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.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet, “Today nearly 100 countries issued a joint statement on the assurances by the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to safely travel outside Afghanistan.

“We will hold the Taliban to that commitment.”

The joint statement issued on Sunday reads, “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 US will complete the withdrawal of its forces and personnel on August 31, Tuesday, but it has said that if some American citizens remain then it will expect the Taliban to allow them safe passage.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that August 31 is “not a cliff” and that the US believes it has “substantial leverage” with the Taliban to hold it to its commitments to allow safe passage to American citizens still left behind.