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Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

  • Over the past week, more than 300 foreign nationals and U.S. green card holders and Afghans with special visas have left Afghanistan, per AP.
  • The flight comes as concerns mount over the future of Afghanistan under Taliban rule, especially for women and girls.
  • The Taliban on Saturday reopened Afghan secondary schools for only boys.

What they're saying: "We are grateful to Qatari authorities, who continue to coordinate these flights with us. We will continue to help U.S. citizens and Afghans affiliated with the U.S. government to depart Afghanistan," State spokesman Ned Price said in the statement.

  • "The international community welcomes the Taliban’s cooperation on these flights, and we will continue our engagement so that U.S. citizens and Afghans enjoy full freedom of movement."

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad wrote in a tweet on Friday: "Grateful that more Americans were able to leave today on a Qatar Airways flight. We welcome this development."

  • "As President Biden said, there is no deadline for Americans remaining in Afghanistan. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come home."

Go deeper: Afghan refugees headed to 46 states

Go deeper

Piedmont Airlines flight attendants vote to authorize strike

Unionized flight attendants for American Eagle carrier Piedmont Airlines protest outside Philadelphia International Airport. Photo courtesy of Natalie Sowinski/Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO

Flight attendants for an American Airlines subsidiary with a base in Philadelphia voted to authorize a strike Thursday.

Driving the news: Members of the union representing flight attendants for American Eagle carrier Piedmont Airlines picketed outside Philadelphia Airport (PHL) following the vote, according to the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.

Why it matters: AFA's strike strategy "could affect the entire system or a single flight," the union said in a news release.

  • "Even the disruption of a few flights could threaten operations across the American Airlines Group system," AFA said.
Updated 2 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

4 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.