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Afghanistan updates: Taliban allowing some Americans, other Westerners to leave: Qatari envoy

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(KABUL, Afghanistan) — With the U.S. military and diplomatic withdrawal now complete after 20 years in Afghanistan, the Taliban has taken over the country, including the Kabul airport, the site of an often-desperate evacuation effort in past weeks.

But even as the last American troops were flown out to meet President Joe Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline, other Americans who wanted to flee the country were left behind. The Biden administration is now focused on a “diplomatic mission” to help them leave but some hoping to evacuate are still stuck in the country. Meanwhile, the Taliban has announced its new “caretaker” government which includes men with U.S. bounties on their heads — and no women.

Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:

Sep 09, 8:41 am
Americans, foreigners to leave Kabul on first flight since Taliban takeover: Qatari envoy

A Qatari Airways flight has landed at Kabul’s international airport and will be the first to fly out of Afghanistan’s capital since the Taliban seized power, with U.S. citizens and other Westerners on board, Qatar’s special envoy for Afghanistan announced on the tarmac Thursday alongside the Taliban’s spokesperson.

A State Department spokesperson told ABC News, “As we have said, our efforts to assist U.S. citizens and others to whom we have a special commitment are ongoing, but we aren’t in a position to share additional details at this time.”

Mutlaq bin Majed al Qahtani, the Qatari envoy, told reporters during the joint press conference, “Call it what you want, a charter or a commercial flight — everyone has tickets and boarding passes.”

He said the airport in Kabul will be fully up and running, telling reporters, “Hopefully life is becoming normal in Afghanistan.”

While the number and breakdown of passengers it’s unclear, this is the first large departure — the first flight out — of Americans and other foreigners since the U.S. evacuation operation ended last week, leaving hundreds of U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghan partners behind.

Sep 08, 3:00 pm
All US service members who died in Kabul attack to be awarded Purple Heart

All 13 U.S. service members who died in the Aug. 26 airport attack in Kabul will be posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

Both the Marine Corps and the Army told ABC News their members will receive the decoration after the Navy announced on Tuesday that the one member of its service that died was posthumously promoted and would also be awarded the Purple Heart.

“The 11 Marines killed-in-action while supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel will be awarded the Purple Heart,” said Capt. Andrew Wood, Marine Corps spokesperson on Tuesday.

The Army’s 1st Special Forces Command said in a press release the day after the attack that its member who died, Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star medal and Combat Action Badge.

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