Middle East/North Africa

Largest evacuation flight under Taliban leaves Kabul for Qatar

A Qatar Airways charter flight carrying more than 200 Americans, Afghan civilians, and others has left the Taliban-controlled Kabul airport to Qatar, Reuters reported. 

"Just now the 4th @qatarairways passengers flight took off from Kabul (HKIA) carrying more than 230 passengers, including Afghans & Citizens from the US Germany Belgium Ireland Canada France Italy UK Finland The Netherlands," Qatar Foreign Minister Lolwah Alkhater said on Sunday. 

Another Qatari official told the news agency that 236 passengers were on the flight, making it the largest evacuation flight since the full U.S. and allied forces withdrawal on Aug 31., according to Reuters. 

"Qatar will continue its collaboration with international partners on efforts that ensure freedom of movement in Afghanistan, while working with various parties on the ground towards more general progress in the country moving forward," the Qatari official told Reuters.

The flight comes a month after the Taliban took full control of Afghanistan for the first time since 2001, when U.S. troops invaded in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Qatar has been a close ally to both the U.S. and the Taliban, being home to the largest U.S. military base in the Middle East and having hosted a Taliban political office for eight years.