Charter flight with Americans, other evacuees from Afghanistan leaves UAE for US
A charter plane carrying more than 100 American citizens and lawful permanent residents departed Thursday morning for the United States after being temporarily held for vetting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initially denied the landing rights in the U.S. for the flight, which is carrying 117 passengers, including 59 children.
After evacuating from Afghanistan to the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, the passengers were held and vetted, according to Reuters.
“The processing of those passengers has been completed and they have already departed for the United States on a commercial aircraft (Etihad) this morning,” the UAE foreign ministry told Reuters Thursday.
A DHS spokesperson said in a statement that had to be “verified before departure to the U.S. to ensure all passengers are screened appropriately.”
There are 28 U.S. citizens aboard the flight, along with 83 green card holders and six holders of U.S. special immigration visas granted to Afghans who worked for the U.S. during the 20-year war, according to Bryan Stern, the founder of Project Dynamo, one of the organizations helping evacuate individuals from Afghanistan.
Project Dynamo announced early Thursday morning on Facebook that passengers were at the boarding gate getting ready to depart.
“The entire Dynamo team is ECSTATIC to announce ALLLLLL Dynamo pax are through customs and the boarding gate,” the group wrote. “Dynamo 01, Next stop. Chicago U. S. A.”
Earlier this week, the organization posted pictures of children sleeping in the airport in Abu Dhabi.
“They escaped the regime they were running from only to have the government they were running HOME TO, turn them away,” Project Dynamo wrote in a post on Tuesday. “This cannot be what America does to Americans. Bring Dynamo 01 home. Now. Today.”