US blocks plane full of Americans from Kabul, group says – .

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US blocks plane full of Americans from Kabul, group says – .


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday denied U.S. landing rights to a charter plane carrying more than 100 Americans and U.S. green card holders evacuated from Afghanistan, flight organizers said.

“They will not allow a charter on an international flight to a US port of entry,” Bryan Stern, founder of the nonprofit Project Dynamo, said of the customs agency and border protection of the department.

Stern spoke to Reuters on board a plane his group chartered from Kam Air, a private Afghan airline, which he said sat for 14 hours at Abu Dhabi airport after arriving from Kabul with 117 people, including 59 children.

His group is one of many that have emerged from ad hoc networks of US veterans, former and current US officials and others who have formed to support the US evacuation operation last month that they saw it as chaotic and poorly organized.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were unfamiliar with the matter, but the US government generally takes the time to check manifestos on charter planes before allowing them. to land in the United States.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has said its top priority is to repatriate Americans and green card holders unable to leave Afghanistan during the US evacuation operation last month.

A senior State Department official said on Monday that the United States was aware of around 100 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents ready to leave Afghanistan.

Six Americans, 83 green card holders and six people with special U.S. immigration visas granted to Afghans who worked for the U.S. government during the 20-year war in Afghanistan were on board the Kam Air flight, Stern said.

He had planned to transfer the passengers to an Ethiopian Airlines chartered plane for a connecting flight to the United States. According to him, customs authorized the landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Customs then changed customs clearance at Dulles International Airport outside Washington before denying the plane’s landing rights anywhere in the United States, he said.

“I have a big, beautiful, giant and gigantic Boeing 787 that I can see parked in front of us,” he said. “I have a crew. I have food. “

Stern said intermediaries in Kabul had obtained permission from the Taliban-led Afghan Civil Aviation Authority for the groups to send a charter flight to pick up passengers from Kabul airport.

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; editing by Scott Malone and Stephen Coates)

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