Sunday: Taliban is holding hostages on planes full of evacuees




The Texas lawmaker said that hundreds of U.S. citizens were "left behind enemy lines" amid the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan last month. McCaul blamed President Joe Biden, saying the commander-in-chief has "blood on his hands."

A State Department spokesperson told Newsweek that it could not confirm whether Americans were attempting to evacuate aboard the chartered aircraft due to a lack of resources and personnel in Afghanistan.

"We understand the concern that many people are feeling as they try to facilitate further charter and other passage out of Afghanistan. However, we do not have personnel on the ground, we do not have air assets in the country, we do not control the airspace— whether over Afghanistan or elsewhere in the region," the spokesperson said.

"Given these constraints, we also do not have a reliable means to confirm the basic details of charter flights, including who may be organizing them, the number of U.S. citizens and other priority groups on-board, the accuracy of the rest of the manifest, and where they plan to land, among many other issues," they added.

The State Department said that it remained "prepared to help" U.S. citizens and Afghan refugees. The federal agency also reiterated that it already evacuated thousands of people in August, after the Taliban rapidly retook control of the country.

According to Ascend, an NGO that teaches young women leadership through athletics, 19 Americans and two permanent residents are among the hundreds attempting to evacuate aboard the planes, CBS News reported Sunday. "We hope visibility will add pressure to force a solution. Six days of talks are not encouraging," Ascend's executive director Marina LeGree told the news network.

Biden has received widespread criticism for the chaotic end to the nearly two decades-long war in Afghanistan.