03:38 - Source: CNN
Evacuee from Afghanistan joins CNN's international desk
CNN  — 

There are currently about 80 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave the country, but evacuation flights have been grounded by the Taliban for about a month, according to a State Department official and two congressional sources familiar with the matter.

It is unclear when the flights will resume, the sources said.

When asked about the halted flights, State Department spokesperson Ned Price dodged the question but appeared to suggest that the Americans left in the country would eventually be able to get out.

“I think you can look at our track record, and the fact we have relocated more than 900 US citizens, lawful permanent residents, not to mention a significant number of other Afghans who meet the criteria for relocation, I think speaks to not only the commitment but also the ability that we have to relocate Americans and those to whom we have a commitment,” Price said during the department’s daily press briefing on Tuesday.

Price said that there are a few dozen US citizens and their families who have identified themselves as being prepared to depart with the necessary travel documents. He also said that there are 150 US citizens in Afghanistan who don’t want to leave the country.

Qatari officials have been in direct contact with the Taliban about restarting the relocation flights but they have yet to resolve the issue. The Taliban have been saying that everyone on the flights must have a visa for the country they are traveling to, including Afghans, one source familiar with the matter said. There have also been problems with the Taliban demanding seats on the flights for Taliban officials to leave the country so that they can send remittances back to their families, another source said.

Price committed the US to continuing to support the relocation efforts.

“Our commitment to Americans is sacrosanct and we’re continuing to work very closely not only with them but also with our partners, including the Qataris, with whom we’ve worked on these relocation efforts,” he said.