The United States, along with 97 other countries said Sunday that they expect the Taliban ensure "safe and orderly" travel out of Afghanistan amid concerns that the terror group will prohibit people from leaving the country after President Joe Biden's self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline for the evacuation of U.S. troops.
"We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan," the 98 countries said in a joint statement.
"We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country," the statement continued.
The countries said that people who desired evacuation from Afghanistan would still be provided travel documentation, adding that they had a "clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries."
And while Sunday's statement did not describe the consequences the Taliban could face if they failed to uphold their assurances, a senior State Department official told The New York Times that the countries were hinting that foreign aid and incentives could be at stake.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen issued a statement Saturday on behalf of Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, deputy director for the Taliban’s political office, insisting that Afghans who had proper documentation would be allowed to leave the country.
"Those Afghans who are intending to go abroad, they can do so in a dignified manner and peace of mind by having legal documents like passports and visas after resumption of commercial flights in the country. S.Abas Stanikzai Deputy Director, Political Office," Shaheen said in a tweet.
This comes as the U.S. and other countries still in Afghanistan have begun their final withdrawal of military troops from the region.