German envoy says Taliban agree to let Afghans travel after Aug. 31

German envoy says Taliban agree to let Afghans travel after Aug. 31

The Taliban have agreed to let Afghan nationals with legal documents travel after Aug. 31, German Ambassador to Afghanistan Markus Potzel tweeted Wednesday.

TOPSHOT – US soldiers stand guard behind barbed wire as Afghans sit on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Potzel met with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Deputy Head of the Taliban’s political bureau, and his team “for a comprehensive discussion” in Doha on Tuesday, Potzel said.

They discussed an “urgent need” for a functioning airport in Kabul as a prerequisite for diplomatic and NGO presence in Afghanistan.

“Director Stanekzai assured me that Afghans with legal documents will continue to have the opportunity to travel on commercial flights after 31 August,” Potzel said.

Some background: This comes one day after the Taliban said they were “not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore” and warned that the US must stick to next week’s deadline to pull out.

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid told a press conference Tuesday that while foreign nationals could continue traveling to the airport, the huge crowds of Afghans that have gathered there in recent days should return home and would not face reprisals from the country’s new rulers.

“The road, which goes to the airport, is blocked. Afghans cannot take that road to go to the airport, but foreign nationals are allowed to take that road to the airport,” Mujahid said.

“We are not allowing the evacuation of Afghans anymore and we are not happy with it either,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak at 2:30 p.m. ET about US efforts to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan after his remarks originally scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET were delayed.

President Biden said Tuesday evening that he had asked Blinken to give the public “an update and a detailed report on exactly how many Americans are still in Afghanistan, how many we got out and what our projection is.”

White House officials have repeatedly said they do not know exactly how many Americans are in Afghanistan.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday that the US doesn’t know the exact figure because some Americans entered the country without registering with the US Embassy in Kabul and others left the country without deregistering.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, during the Pentagon briefing on Wednesday morning, said at least 4,400 Americans had been evacuated but did not provide a total number of Americans who are still in need of evacuation.

Earlier today, the Pentagon announced that a total of 19,000 evacuees left Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, with 42 US military aircraft carrying 11,200 people and another 7,800 people evacuated by coalition partners.

The Pentagon said there are more than 10,000 people waiting at the airport to leave but that the number would change as more people arrive at the airport and as flights depart.

CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Nicole Gaouette and Jennifer Hansler contributed reporting to this post.

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