The Biden administration is charging Americans thousands of dollars for evacuations from Afghanistan after the widely criticized withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Politico originally broke the story on Thursday morning, reporting, “Even though U.S. officials tell NatSec Daily and others that evacuation flights from Kabul will be free, people trying to catch a plane in the Afghan capital say differently. One person said State Department staff were seeking large payments — up to $2,000 — from American passengers and even more from non-U.S. citizens.”
“When we relayed what this person told us to the State Department, a spokesperson didn’t deny that this is happening,” Politico added.
“U.S. law requires that evacuation assistance to private U.S. citizens or third country nationals be provided ‘on a reimbursable basis to the maximum extent practicable.’ The situation is extremely fluid, and we are working to overcome obstacles as they arise,” the spokesperson told Politico.
“In other words, the Biden administration may request payments for evacuation flights,” Politico explained.
A security alert from the State Department on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan website confirms the $2,000 charge for evacuations.
“Repatriation flights are not free, and passengers will be required to sign a promissory loan agreement and may not be eligible to renew their U.S. passports until the loan is repaid,” the security alert states. “The cost may be $2,000USD or more per person.”
Biden’s State Department Spokesman Ned Price told the Daily Caller that the administration has “no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan.”
Four hours later, however, the Daily Caller revealed online forms from the State Department for evacuation flights which require users to select “I understand and wish to continue with this request” for having to pay “the full cost of the flight, which may exceed $2,000 per person.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price, 4 hours ago: "In these unique circumstances, we have no intention of seeking any reimbursement from those fleeing Afghanistan."
Required US Gov. form, RIGHT NOW: "All passengers will need to reimburse the U.S. Government for the flight." pic.twitter.com/aM8vz7doTO
— Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) August 20, 2021