200 non-Afghans to leave Kabul in first airlift since US retreat

DOHA : About 200 non-Afghans including Americans are to fly out of Kabul in the first airlift since the United States withdrawal and Taliban takeover, a source in Doha, Qatar, said yesterday.

"Not all 200 are US citizens. There are American citizens among the group departing Kabul to Doha," said the source, who was briefed on the operation.

Footage broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera TV showed families including women, children and elderly people waiting with suitcases at Kabul airport.

"We are very appreciative of the Qataris," one passenger told the channel, giving his nationality as Canadian.

The US has said only 100 or so citizens remain in Afghanistan, but that thousands of Afghan allies who fear retribution failed to leave before the departure of the US military last week.

Meanwhile, protest organisers cancelled rallies in Kabul yesterday after the Taliban effectively banned demonstrations, warning violators "will face severe legal action".

Earlier this week, armed fighters dispersed hundreds of protesters in cities across Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, Faizabad in the north-east and Herat in the west, where two people were shot dead. - AFP