US bars charter plane from Kabul with more than 100 Americans from landing
Stern talked to Reuters from a jet rented by his group from Kam Air, a tiny Afghan airline, that he claimed had been waiting at Abu Dhabi airport for 14 hours after coming from Kabul with 117 passengers, including 59 children.
The Department of Homeland Security refused to land privileges in the United States on Tuesday to a charter jet carrying more than 100 Americans and green card holders evacuated from Afghanistan, according to the flight's organizers. "They will not let a charter on an overseas flight into a US port of entry," said Bryan Stern, founder of the non-profit Project Dynamo. Stern talked to Reuters from a jet rented by his group from Kam Air, a tiny Afghan airline, that he claimed had been waiting at Abu Dhabi airport for 14 hours after coming from Kabul with 117 passengers, including 59 children.
His organization is one of the dozens that arose from ad hoc networks of US military veterans, current and former US officials, and others who established to supplement last month's chaotic and poorly managed US evacuation operation. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an administration official said they were unfamiliar with the situation but that the US government normally takes time to verify charter jet manifests before allowing them to land in the US.
The government of US President Joe Biden has stated that the primary priority is to repatriate Americans and green card holders who were unable to leave Afghanistan during the US evacuation operation last month. According to a senior State Department source, the US is aware of around 100 American citizens, and lawful permanent residents prepared to leave Afghanistan. Stern stated that the Kam Air aircraft carried six Americans, 83 green card holders, and six individuals with US Special Immigration Visas issued to Afghans who worked for the US government throughout the 20-year war in Afghanistan.
He planned to transfer the passengers to a chartered Ethiopian Airlines plane for an onward flight to the United States, which he said had been cleared by Customs to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. According to him, Customs subsequently altered the clearance to Dulles International Airport outside of Washington before refusing the jet landing privileges anywhere in the United States. Stern stated that intermediaries in Kabul had gained authorization from the Taliban-run Afghan Civil Aviation Authority for the organizations to deploy a charter jet to pick up the people at Kabul airport.