Andrew Kerr, DCNF
- The Biden administration continued to inform American citizens in Afghanistan as of Thursday evening that they could be charged more than $2,000 to board an evacuation flight out of the country.
- The State Department told the press Thursday afternoon that it had no intention of levying any such charges.
- “All passengers will need to reimburse the U.S. Government for the flight. A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding,” stated the repatriation flight request form on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
The Biden administration continued to inform American citizens in Afghanistan as of Thursday evening they could have to pay more than $2,000 to board an evacuation flight out of the country, despite the State Department telling the press hours before that it had no intention of levying any such charges.
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has stated in multiple security advisories since Monday that any U.S. citizen seeking to evacuate the country must complete an online form in order to secure their repatriation flight. “This form is the only way to communicate interest in flight options,” the embassy said in a security advisory Wednesday.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told the Daily Caller News Foundation and other news outlets late Thursday afternoon that the Biden administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.”
However, the online form American citizens are directed to fill out to secure their evacuation from Afghanistan continued to state well into Thursday evening that they travelers will have to pay their own way out of the country.
“Repatriation flights are not free,” Question 14 of the form stated when accessed by the DCNF around 10 p.m. Thursday, over two-and-a-half hours after Price issued his statement.
“All passengers will need to reimburse the U.S. Government for the flight. A promissory note for the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2000 per person, must be signed by each adult passenger before boarding,” the form stated.
“No cash or credit card payments will be accepted,” the form added.
The top of the form states that the information collected will be used by the U.S. Embassy to facilitate travel back to the United States for those fleeing the “security situation” in Afghanistan.
Politico first reported Thursday afternoon that sources on the ground witnessed the State Department charging American citizens who had made their way past armed Taliban checkpoints and into the Kabul airport upwards of $2,000 to board evacuation flights. The outlet added that the State Department did not deny it was charging Americans seeking to flee Afghanistan.
Politico’s report led to fierce criticism of the Biden administration’s treatment of fleeing American citizens on social media.
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) August 19, 2021
Price issued his statement saying the administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan” about three hours after the Politico report Thursday.
The American embassy in Kabul announced on Wednesday that it “cannot guarantee safe passage” for Americans traveling to the city’s airport. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday that the military doesn’t have the capability to rescue Americans that can’t make their way to the airport, and the State Department acknowledged Thursday that there have been reports of Taliban forces blocking American citizens from reaching the airfield.
Up to 15,000 American citizens remained in Afghanistan awaiting evacuation as of Tuesday, NBC News reported.
The State Department did not immediately return a request for comment.
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