Aug 16, 2021 - World

U.S. joins 60 countries in urging safe exit of citizens from Afghanistan

A Qatar Airways aircraft taking-off from the airport in Kabul on Saturday.
A Qatar Airways aircraft takes off from Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on Saturday. Photo: Wakil Koshar/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and over 60 countries issued a joint statement Sunday saying Afghans and international citizens who wish to leave the country should be allowed to do so, with airports and border crossings remaining open.

Driving the news: The statement was issued as the U.S. completed its evacuation of American Embassy staff and prepared to take over Kabul airport's air traffic control to fly personnel out of Afghanistan after the Taliban swept into the capital earlier in the day.

  • Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Qatar and Japan, along with the European Union and several of its member countries, were among the statement's signatories.

What they're saying: "Given the deteriorating security situation, we support, are working to secure, and call on all parties to respect and facilitate, the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country," the statement reads.

  • "Those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility — and accountability — for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order," it continues.
"The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.  We in the international community stand ready to assist them."
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