August 24, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration expects that some Afghans who qualify for special visas will not be barred from going to Kabul airport to evacuate in coming days, despite a Taliban statement to the contrary, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.

A Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday that the group wants the United States to stop encouraging Afghans to leave and to stop taking Afghan experts out of Afghanistan.

The White House said that was not the Biden administration’s understanding of the situation.

The individuals we have prioritized … who are eligible for special immigrant visas … our expectation is that they will be able to reach he airport,” Psaki said.

The United States is evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan, including Afghan citizens who helped the U.S. government there.

(Reporting by Heather Timmons, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Peter Cooney)

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