The Taliban has prevented at least four planes chartered to evacuate Americans and Afghans at a northern Afghanistan airport, NPR reports.
There have been conflicting reports about why the planes are being held at the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif.
An Afghan official at the airport told reporters that many of the passengers are Afghans who do not have passports or visas, preventing them from leaving the country.
The official said that the would-be evacuees have left the airport while the situation is sorted out.
The official said the group is staying at nearby hotels.
Some of the people previously worked for companies allies with the US or German military.
The State Department has not been able to confirm information about the charter flights nor how many American citizens are set to travel on them because it no longer has any personnel on the ground.
GOP Rep alleges “hostage” situation:
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Taliban was effectively “holding them hostage.”
"The Taliban will not let them leave the airport," McCaul said, though residents of the city have reported that at least 10 families are staying at a nearby hotel and some have been seen at restaurants.
McCaul said that he’s worried the Taliban is “going to demand more and more, whether it be cash or legitimacy as the government of Afghanistan."
US vows to hold Taliban accountable:
The US has vowed to hold the Taliban to their promise to continue to allow people to evacuate after the US military withdrew last week.
Turkey and Qatar are helping to evacuate people at the airport in Kabul and the airport in Mazar-e-Sharif has recently begun to handle international flights.
So far the only planes departing the airport have been to Turkey though the planes in question are reportedly bound for Doha, Qatar.
It’s unclear who chartered the planes.