Taliban interim government lets foreigners out of Afghanistan

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Two hundred foreigners in the Afghanistan, Americans among them, are expected to depart Kabul on charter flights this Thursday, as the new government of the Taliban agreed to its withdrawal, a US official said.

The departures will be among the first international flights to take off from Kabul airport since the Islamic militia seized the capital in mid-August, triggering the chaotic US-led withdrawal of 124,000 foreigners and at-risk Afghans.

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The news comes two days after the Taliban announced an interim government composed mainly of Pashtun men, including wanted terrorist suspects and Islamic radicals, which dampens international hopes for a more moderate administration.

The Taliban has been pressured to allow the departure of Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative, said the US official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

That official was unable to say whether US civilians and other foreign nationals were among those held for days in Mazar-i-Sharif, a northern Afghan city, because their charter flights were not allowed to depart.