Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki says suspension comes on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control.

The Biden administration has temporarily suspended flights of Afghan refugees to the United States after four cases of measles were found among newcomers.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the suspension of flights was “out of abundance” on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“These individuals are being quarantined in accordance with public health guidelines, and the CDC has begun full detection,” Psaki told reporters.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that can be fatal, especially in children. Its distribution has slowed drastically in recent decades due to global mass vaccination.

Psaki said all Afghans arriving in the United States should undergo “critical vaccinations”.

“We are also investigating measures to vaccinate people while they are still overseas,” she said.

It is not clear how long the suspension of flights will last. Thousands of Afghans in military bases in Germany, Qatar, Spain and elsewhere are awaiting transfer to the US, where they will be examined before being approved for resettlement.

U.S. officials say the country plans to take it 50,000 Afghans out of more than 100,000 who were evacuated from Afghanistan last month amid the Taliban takeover.

Washington says it is continuing efforts to help US citizens and vulnerable Afghans leave Afghanistan after the US military withdrawal completed on 31 August.

A second Qatar Airways flight left Kabul on Friday for a plane leaves Afghanistan a day earlier with 100 passengers, including foreigners.

The Biden administration said Friday’s flight carried 19 U.S. citizens.

National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said two additional U.S. citizens and 11 legal permanent residents (LPRs) left Afghanistan via land routes on Friday.

“We continue to work intensively with the entire U.S. government to facilitate the safe transportation of these individuals and other U.S. citizens, LPRs and Afghans who have worked for us who want to leave Afghanistan,” Horne said in a statement.

“Because there is an ongoing terrorist threat to such operations, we will not share details of these efforts until people are safely out of the country.”

On Thursday, Horne reaffirmed coordination with the Taliban to facilitate the departure of the first flight. “They showed flexibility, and they were businesslike and professional in our dealings with them in this endeavor. This is a positive first step, ‘she said of the group.

Earlier this week, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken called on the Taliban to fulfill its commitment “to allow foreigners, visa holders and Afghans to travel outside the country if they wish”.

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