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Taliban to allow 200 Americans to leave Afghanistan

The Taliban say they will allow 200 Americans and other civilians to leave Afghanistan on charter flights, according to a US official.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, said the Taliban were pressed to allow the departures by US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad.

The flight is expected to depart on Thursday from Kabul airport but the official could not say whether the Americans and other nationals onboard include those who have been stranded in Mazar-i-Sharif for days because their private planes have not been allowed to leave Afghanistan.

Since Western forces left Afghanistan at the end of August, the United States and the United Kingdom have been attempting to find a way for those stuck in the country to leave.

The British government created a scheme to allow former employees the right to relocate to Britain and many were rescued via this policy on evacuation flights.

But a lot of people either had not yet received a reply to their application, had their application rejected or had been accepted but could not make it to the airport.

On Wednesday, a former Afghan interpreter revealed that at least 400 Afghan special forces trained by the UK are in hiding in Afghanistan and are desperate to escape to Britain.

Rafi Hottak, 35, who used to work with British special forces in Afghanistan and now lives in Birmingham, said he is compiling a list of names of elite commandos wanting help.

He plans to present the list to the UK government in a bid to pressure ministers to act.

“They’ve served the British government for 20 years, they deserve a life without fear of being killed,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced a caretaker government, which didn’t feature any women and included several old-guard members.

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Among those appointed included Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is on the FBI’s most-wanted list and has a $5m reward against his name.

The new government is led by prime minister Mullah Hasan Akhund and his deputy, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

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