According to an email obtained by Fox News, the State Department refused to grant official approval for private evacuation flights from Afghanistan to land in third countries. Meanwhile the department admitted that official approval would likely be required for planes to land in those countries.
Furthermore, the State Department stated unequivocally that charter flights, including those carrying American citizens, would not be permitted to land at DOD airbases.
Officials in the United States have warned that landing charter planes at military bases could pose a security risk, claiming that they lack the resources on the ground to fully verify flight manifests.
The Biden administration’s decision to delay private evacuation efforts has enraged rescuers and even a prominent Democratic senator.
After the evacuation efforts were repeatedly hampered by the federal bureaucracy, Eric Montalvo, who organized a series of private flights evacuating those stranded in Afghanistan, shared that email and others with Fox News.
A State Department official sent Montalvo an email on Sept. 1 highlighting the extent to which private evacuation efforts have run into bureaucratic roadblocks.
“No independent charters are allowed to land at [Al Udeid Air Base], the military airbase you mentioned in your communication with Samantha Power. In fact, no charters are allowed to land at an [sic] DoD base and most if not all countries in the Middle Eastern region, with the exception of perhaps Saudi Arabia will allow charters to land,” the official wrote.
“You need to find another destination country, and it can’t be the U.S. either.”
Although some third countries “may require” official approval from the State Department before accepting private charter flights, the department “will not provide” that approval, according to the official.
“Once you have had discussions with the host/destination country and reached an agreement, they may require some indication from the USG that we ‘approve’ of this charter flight. DOS will not provide an approval, but we will provide a ‘no objection’ to the destination country government via the U.S. Embassy in that country.”
Americans working to rescue those left behind in Afghanistan have previously expressed their displeasure with the State Department’s inexplicable delays in allowing evacuation flights to leave the country.
Rick Clay, who runs the private rescue organization PlanB, previously told Fox News that the only thing stopping the flights he’s organizing from leaving Afghanistan is the State Department. Separate rescue mission organizers echoed Clay’s criticisms to Fox News.